The Mark of Ugliness In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Birthmark, there is indeed a representation of a submerged personality in Aylmer. Although the other underlying personality is not represented within himself, it is rather portrayed through his assistant Aminadab. Since Aylmer is lacking so much within himself, he is unable to appreciate his wife even she was dying. Basically if Aylmer had the sensibility of Aminadab he could have realized how beautiful she was even with her birthmark.
During the portion of the rising action we discover what type of man Aylmer is. He is a man of science, and held with high regards by other scientists. His love for science is first priority; anything else means nothing compared to his studies. Even though he decided to search for a wife, he does so with hardly any enthusiasm, ” He had left his laboratory to the care of his assistant, cleared his fine countenance from the furnace smoke, washed the stain of acids from his fingers and persuaded a beautiful women to become his wife.” Two points are brought up; first he leaves his assistant in the lab with all the dirty work to be done, while Aylmer cleans himself up and just decides he needs a wife, pointing out that Aminadab, although only an assistant, has a great deal of responsibility.
Second due, to his non attitude towards finding a woman, we find that he wonders if he could love a woman more than his science, ” His love for his young wife might prove the stronger of the two; but it could only be by intertwining itself with his love of science and uniting the strength of the latter of his own.” Right then we see he could not marry and be truly in love unless he could some how combine it with his science. Luckily for Aylmer, he discovers a birthmark on his wife that makes him look at his wife in disgust. The birthmark which he calls a flaw to perfection, becomes more intolerable after every glance at it. He can not ignore it, he even has a dream where he tries to get rid of it. He now can combine his love for science with his so-called love with his wife, Georgiana. Aylmer was most certainly scientifically based; he wanted to use her as an experiment.
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Since he has basically brought his wife into great shame of having the birthmark, she considers removing it, and instantaneously we see that Aylmer says, “I have spent much thought upon the subject”; there is no way he is going to give up this opportunity to bring science into their relationship. In the lab where they begin to work on Georgiana is where we are introduced to the idea that there is a polarity between the spiritual and earthly sides of Aylmer and Aminadab. Aminadab is ” a man of low stature, but bulky frame, with shaggy hair hanging about his visage. This personage had been Aylmer’s under worker during his whole scientific career, and was admirably fitted for that office by his great mechanical readiness, he executed all the details of his master’s experiments.” He was basically making the whole lab run and doing all the work. Although he did was ” incapable of comprehending a single principal” he represented what Aylmer lacked. While Aylmer was ” slender, and had a pale, intellectual face” representing the spiritual element that Aminadab was lacking.
That is why they worked together; they were counterparts of each other. With out the knowledge of science that Aylmer contributed Aminadab would have no work to do, but knowledge of science and the ideas of experiments would be pointless without someone like Aminadab who could carry out the tasks that needed to be done. And I feel since they differed in their personalities they needed each other, especially Aylmer since he could learn a lot from the humble well grounded Aminadab, but unfortunately he does not learn anything from Aminadab. During this whole lab sequence another idea is brought up, the fact that Aylmer has this mentality which has been so influenced by science. That even if he does get rid of the birthmark he will eventually find something else wrong with Georgiana, and try to fix it, ” accept nothing less than perfection nor miserably make itself contented with and earthier nature than he had dreamed of.” I also interpreted as if he was able to think more like Aminadab then he would be able to appreciate her and love her no matter the flaw and imperfections. If he could only see her in a different perspective then he would finally learn.
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During the climax of the story we find they are in the midst of finally removing the mark, and now Aly mer feels a certain restraint; it is guilt, while he observed what was happening to his wife, ” he failed not to gaze often at the fatal hand, and not without a shudder. Yet once, by a strange and unaccountable impulse, he pressed it with his lips.” This brings up the opposing forces within Aylmer; he now feels bad because the birthmark was a part of her and he took something away from her; he feels he could have left it the way it was before. But before he can actually begin to feel guilty and think about what he has done, he sees that it has disappeared and is too overjoyed over his success to feel guilty. After he discovers that the mark is gone he is so happy that he was able to finally successfully complete an experiment. He thanks the two characteristics that are Aminadab and himself, “Ah clod! ah, earthly mass! you have served me well! Matter and spirit-earth and heaven-both done their part in this!” , this obviously is commenting the fact that the work of the earthly Aminadab and the spiritual Aylmer have cooperated together, however he has failed once again, but not just with an experiment, but with his love. The resolution, she dies, and Aylmer is left with the feeling that he began to feel when he had kissed the mark.
He felt finally that he was not looking far deep enough like Aminadab had. Aminadab said earlier, “If she were my wife, I’d never part with that birthmark.” He was able to see that she was a unique and should be left the way that she was created. Aylmer unfortunately did not even learn from this tragic pointless death, if he would have thought like Aminadab then he might have learned, “Yet had Aylmer reached a profounder wisdom, he need not thus have flung away the happens which would have woven his mortal life of the selfsame texture with the celestial… He failed to look beyond the shadowy scope of time, and, living once all in eternity, to find the perfect future in the present.” Basically saying the missing part of him, which was shown through Aminadab, was the key to see that he had everything he could possibly want. That is when he no longer fights with this inner struggle. What is even more tragic is that even with the passing of his wife, he is unable to learn from this because his own wife basically says, dont feel guilty it is going to be ok.
... restrain a strong convulsive shudder. His wife fainted.' Aminadab! Aminadab!' shouted Aylmer, stamping violently on the floor.Forthwith, there ... had roused the admiration of all the learned societies in Europe.Seated calmly in this ... ever into the heart of science. I feel myself fully competent to render this ... -- 'If she were my wife, I'd never part with that birth-mark.' When Georgiana recovered ...
This totally disturbs the possibility of learning from this horrible incident, because his wife eases the guilt. Aylmer does not incorporate his missing characteristics from Aminadab. Although if he would have he would have been able to totally appreciate his wife, and even if he would have portrayed Aminadab’s way of thinking even at the end when she dies he could have learned at least the hard way. But the fact that he did not even learn anything from this and still has a separation within himself is the saddest part. If only he had the mentality of his counterpart Aminadab, he wold have realized his wife, Georgiana was in fact a beautiful creature who need not be changed.