Tragic flaw in Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” Essay

1201 Words Jul 2nd, 2014 5 Pages
An expository essay:
Tragic flaw in Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark”

In literature a tragic flaw refers in plain words when the main character ends up dead or defeated a characteristic feature of the heroes of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short stories, “Young Goodman Brown,” “The Minister’s Black Veil”, and “The Birthmark”. However this concept is even more extensive and best explained in terms of “Hamartia”. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica that word can be understood as an inherent defect in the hero of a tragedy or a moral flaw, other sources point out “Hamartia” as an error in judgment or accident that may lead the hero to ruin as a result. From “The Birthmark” the reader can notice how the story starts with a happy romance
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No, dearest Georgiana, you came so nearly perfect from the hand of Nature that this slightest possible defect, which we hesitate whether to term a defect or a beauty, shocks me, as being the visible mark of earthly imperfection." (Hawthorne, 1843, para. 5)
Such arrogance is the reason why the romance became in tragedy. Aylmer as devote scientist had been influenced by discoveries of the 19th century. For him the nature can be modified through science, nature is flawed and man can improve it. In a deeper sense, human life is imperfect because of the death, also the sin, imperfection is a symbol of the mortal life and one of the purposes of science is prolonging life; so perfection is seen as eternity, symbol of immortality. In the case of Aylmer he is married with a woman he considers almost perfect, according to him she is so perfect that is insupportable see in her the birth-mark in her check, because that just emphasizes just a small imperfection that damages the beauty of a perfect work of art, something that recalled the mortal condition of Aylmer’s wife as the life of any other human, a fact that made of the birthmark a nightmare for the couple as describes the story:
It was the fatal flaw of humanity which Nature, in one shape or another, stamps ineffaceably on all her productions… The crimson hand expressed the ineludible gripe in which mortality clutches the highest and purest of earthly
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