“The Birth-Mark”: A Characterization of Aylmer
English 122 – Academic Writing II
16 Jul. 2013 draft
20 Jul. 2013 polished
Saint Leo University
I, Joel Krauss, do pledge that this is my original work.
What would a person risk to please the one that they love? Would they even risk their life to gain a loved one’s acceptance? “The Birth-Mark”, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a tragic story that explores the depths that Aylmer and Georgiana face answering this dilemma. Aylmer, a noted and respected scientist, is Georgiana’s husband who becomes overwhelmingly obsessed with the tiny birthmark on her cheek and an ill-conceived notion that it can be removed. High intelligence, profound egotism, and a fanatical perfectionism are some of the pronounced character traits that Aylmer exhibits. Aylmer can be described as highly intelligent for many reasons. One example is his description as “a man of science, an eminent proficient in every branch of natural philosophy” (Hawthorne 505). Meticulously-kept diaries show that Aylmer has quite the extensive history of scientific experiments even though the majority of them, he himself, would consider failures compared to the original objective. In his laboratory, he discovered the answers to many mysteries of the earth and the elements, therein, such as the secrets to volcanos, geysers and atmospheric formations (Hawthorne 508). Hawthorne describes that Aylmer even boasted his creation of a Fountain of Life potion, though it sadly proves to be the contrary (511). Therefore, Aylmer’s discoveries, inventions, and accolades from the scientific community, show that Aylmer does have a high level of intelligence. Aylmer can also be described as egotistical. This is apparent when Georgiana asks of Aylmer, “Cannot you remove this little, little mark?” before it drove them both insane (Hawthorne 508). Aylmer scoffed at her question and replied, “Doubt not my power” as he continues on to brag of his...
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