The Tell Tale Heart And The Birth Mark Only A Couple Of Months Apart

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Contemporaries Edgar Alan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne published their respective short stories The Tell-Tale Heart and The Birth-Mark only a couple of months apart. The Tell-Tale Heart is the personal account of a young man’s descent into madness as he becomes increasingly fixated on the eye of an older man, presumably his father. Similarly, The Birth-Mark narrates the story of a young couple, Aylmer and Georgiana, and how the latter’s birthmark becomes the obsession of the former. Poe and Hawthorne’s literary genre of Dark Romanticism opposes human perfectibility, and both writers employ symbolism, irony, similar characters and plot to convey the theme that obsessions will inevitably lead to destruction.
The authors of American Romanticism held a particular disdain for science, which they made visible through the aggressor characters in their short stories. Both aggressors wanted to do away with any imperfections in their environments, as they felt personally threatened by them. The younger man in The Tell-Tale Heart behaves in cold, calculated movements and dismembers the body of the old man like a butcher. In The Birth-Mark Aylmer, “a man of science,” uses science in order to create a concoction that will remove his wife’s birthmark. Of the potion Aylmer declares, “Unless all science have deceived me, it cannot fail,” (Hawthorne 428). The aggressors are severely flawed characters, who act on deranged impulses, but attempt to justify their actions rationally and

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