“He has proposed to take her portrait by a scientific process of his own invention” (Hawthorne 1026).
In this quotation, Aylmer views his wife as a scientific experiment which he has the right to tamper with. Aylmer’s idea of changing his wife can be compared to God’s right of creation. Aylmer strives to be like God, but cannot escape from his mortal qualities which prevent him from being equal to God.
Aylmer, an extremely proficient scientist has been able to equalize God’s power in numerous ways, but as a result of his vices as a human may not be labeled as the equal of God. Aylmer, extremely fixated by science, in some ways matches God’s power. Aylmer has a beautiful wife who has only one imperfection – a birthmark. Instead of loving Georgiana for her natural beauty, Aylmer thought of her birthmark as a “frightful object, causing him more trouble and horror than ever Georgiana’s beauty… had given him delight” (Hawthorne 1022).
Aylmer thinks that he is like God, and like God he has to have everything perfect.
So he longed for a perfect wife, thus he created a potion to rid his wife of her “horrible imperfection.” This potion works, Georgiana’s birthmark disappears. Aylmer possesses the knowledge and ability to destroy a natural gift inherited from birth, in this instance – Georgiana’s birthmark. God is the only entity who has the ability to destroy a mark inherited from birth, thus Aylmer can be compared to God. Aylmer can also be compared to God because he created an “Eden” for his lovely wife, as did God for Adam and Eve.
Earthly Imperfections Too often in this world does man attempt to perfect nature. Tampering with this sort of element most commonly leads to a disaster to come extent. Because man is never satisfied, he is constantly vying for perfection, regardless of the outcome. Such is the case in Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story, "The Birthmark." Aylmer's persistent attempt to perfect nature is the cause of ...
Aylmer had created an elegant boudoir for Georgiana to spend her time in. Georgiana’s room was adorned with massive curtains which fell to the floor in folds, illuminated with the many different colors and odors secreted from perfumed lamps. The room can be compared to a paradise, like the one Adam and Eve had created for them by God, which contained an orchard filled with multiple fruit trees. Also, because God is the only being with the power to prolong or end life, Aylmer can be compared to God because Aylmer had created the elixir of immortality. This elixir is extremely strong.
The strength and swiftness of the potion is described in this quotation. “By its aids I could apportion the lifetime of any mortal at whom you might point your finger. The strength of the dose would determine whether her were to linger out years, or drop dead on the midst of the breath” (Hawthorne 1027).
With his powerful elixir, Aylmer can match the intelligence and supremacies of God. Aylmer’s vices overpower his virtues and sustain his ability to be like God. When Aylmer realized he cannot live with only one of his passions, he tried to maintain a balance between both – his “spiritual” love for his wife and his “chemical” love for science.
Aylmer loves his wife as a man loves a woman, deeply and passionately, but because his love for science influenced him so strongly, it quickly overpowered the love he had for Georgiana. One of the vices Aylmer has is selfishness, because despite Georgiana’s confidence of her hand-shaped “gift from the fairies,” Aylmer convinced Georgiana that her birthmark was hideous and had to be removed. Aylmer was not satisfied with Georgiana’s appearance because he knew he had the ability to fix her imperfection, thus he tried to use science as an answer to fix Georgiana’s appearance. For these reasons, mistakenly, Aylmer tried to unite his wife with science. Aylmer’s reasons for uniting his wife with Nature are clear in this quotation: “I feel myself fully competent to render this cheek as faultless as its fellow… I shall have connected what Nature left imperfect in her fairest work” (Hawthorne 1024).
nat-u-ral: 1) based on an inherent sense of right and wrong; 2 a) being in accordance with or determined by nature. In "The Birthmark', Nathaniel Hawthorne writes the story of a scientist who marries a beautiful young woman with only one imperfection; a crimson birthmark on her left cheek. Aylmer later becomes obsessed with this flaw and thinks nothing but of the removal of the birthmark, which ...
It is obvious that Aylmer sees nothing wrong with changing his wife, on the contrary he thinks he is helping both himself and his wife. The harder Aylmer tried to love his wife for who she really was, the more the birthmark began to repulse him. He even had a dream about the birthmark, in which he was cutting the birthmark away, but the knife cut so deep that it wrenched away Georgiana’s heart. Obviously, Aylmer’s failure to maintain a balance between his passion for science and his love for his wife proves his weakness as a human being. Aylmer did have the power and knowledge to get rid of an imperfection, like God, but because he was a human, his scheme to be married to a perfect woman backfired. Georgiana died a few moments after the disappearance of her birthmark.
Even though Aylmer’s main passion was for science he did not have the genius to create every intended experiment successfully. Aylmer had many failures, and his achievements, when compared to his ideals at which he aimed at, were extremely petty. His successes and failures are compared to worthless gaud. Aylmer’s scientific efforts are described in this quotation: “His brightest diamonds were the merest pebbles…
.” (Hawthorne 1029).
Obviously, Aylmer may be considered not worthy enough to keep his title as a scientist. In contrast to God, Aylmer is a pathetic soul who fails at most of his intended goals, where God is able to achieve anything he desires. Despite Aylmer’s great skill in science, he has many vices which he cannot overcome, thus enabling him from equalizing God’s extraordinary power. Aylmer has destroyed an imperfection through the study of science, discovered immortality, and created an “Eden,” all powers equal to that of God’s.
Despite these accomplishments, Aylmer does not learn how to equilibrize his mortal emotions, fails many times before he is able to achieve any of his experiments, and is not able to obtain his lifelong dream of having a perfect wife. All in all, Aylmer possesses an immense cognition of science comparable to that of God’s, but Aylmer will never be justified as an equivalent to God because of his mortal vices.
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 ...