Rappaccini's Daughter And The Birthmark Short Story

Decent Essays

In his short stories “Rappaccini’s Daughter” and “The Birthmark” author Nathaniel Hawthorne explores the limitations of humanity and the ability to achieve perfection. Humans are always striving to advance and evolve, forever chasing after this idea of perfection. Part of humanity is always wanting to do better, to have more. In Hawthorne’s short stories, the two main characters are both scientists who make an attempt at creating perfection. Hawthorne epitomizes the unattainable pursuit of perfection sought after by humans and subsequently, the overeagerness of humans to attempt to play god. In reality this desire to have complete perfection is an unattainable goal that humans can only aspire to. In the pursuit of perfection, the greatest risk is to become too caught up in perfection and to then lose the ethics and morality of humanity. The pursuit of perfection can cause an obsession with perfection so that the pursuer becomes discontented with what they are physically able to attain. In the short story “The Birthmark” scientist Aylmer imposes his pursuit of perfection onto his fiancee when he attempts to remove a small birthmark from her otherwise beautiful appearance. Aylmer is unable to be content with his wife and feels that he must remove the birthmark in order for her to become beautiful. His displeasure with the birthmark increases even further as he becomes more and more unsettled by the mark. Aylmer’s wife Georgiana, who is initially unperturbed by the mark, is

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