The Birthmark, Rappaccini’s Daughter and the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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When you hear the word “mad scientist” you perceive an aggressive, eccentric, awkward and intellectual individual that works with fictional equipment in order to initiate their intelligible schemes. On the other hand, they fail to recognize the evil that will stream from the hubris of “playing god”. A majority of the time these “mad scientists” are individuals who value their experiments and scientific curiosity over themselves, others and the world. The literature works, The Birthmark, Rappaccini’s Daughter and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde all depict the role of a “mad scientist” who ultimately destroys themselves and others in an attempt to create something perfect. Nathaniel Hawthorne in "The Birthmark” illustrates an overconfident and sane scientist whose meddling with nature brought about tragedy. In “The Birthmark,” Alymer, whom W.R. Thompson refers to as a “scientist-priest” of the new cult of science conquering religion, comments one day about Georgiana’s birthmark which occupies the center of her left cheek, “a singular mark, deeply interwoven. . . with the texture and substance of her face” (Hawthorne, 1022). Alymer then relates that “Has it ever occurred to you that the mark upon your cheek might be removed?”(Hawthorne, 1021) whereby Georgiana replies that she has long considered it as a charm, meaning that she sees no reason to remove it. But Alymer sees things differently because for him the birthmark is a defect, “the visible mark of earthly imperfection” which destroys her beauty and renders her face “even hideous” (Hawthorne, 1021). Not long after, upon waking up in bed next to Georgiana, Alymer gazes at her face and recognizes “the symbol of imperfection” which soon leads Georgiana to “shudder at his gaze,” an indication that she feels guilty of being cursed with the birthmark (Hawthorne, 1022). Alymer then convinces her to have it removed via an operation in his laboratory, where he is “startled with the intense glow of the birthmark” which forces upon him “a strong convulsive shudder.” In fact, Alymer is so obsessed with this mark that he exclaims “I even rejoice in this single imperfection, since it will be a rapture to remove it!” (Hawthorne,1026). Finally, after concocting a potion in his laboratory which resembles that of an ancient alchemist, Alymer gives Georgiana this “draught of immortality;” she drinks it and the birthmark fades away, resulting in her immediate death (Hawthorne, 1031). Aylmer depicts a “mad scientist” because he secludes himself in his laboratory to initiate his lucid schemes to concoct a potion to get rid of Georgianna’s birthmark. As a “mad scientist” he has a sole ultimatum and puts to mind to accomplishing it. The birthmark became Aylmer’s distraction to the point he couldn’t initiate a conversation with Georgianna without awkwardly staring at the mark. Ultimately, Aylmer’s potion led to his destruction, the death of his beloved wife because he failed to recognize the horror that streams from playing with nature. This leads us to a real life “mad scientist” Nikola Tesla who was born in 1856, during a violent lightning storm, Nikola Tesla was a “mad scientist” you can visualize pulling down a gigantic electric switch in a shower of scorching sparks. He was known as a manic genius due to the fact he slept little and enjoyed entertaining the public by using his own body as an electrical conductor. He was credited with inventing the wireless radio and AC generator which kick-started the electrical age. Tesla’s papers, which were later discovered after his death, advocated he stumbled upon, but didn’t purse, X-rays and lasers long before they were discovered. Sketches of robots and death rays which Tesla hoped would end all wars were also come across. The Wall Street Journal claimed “There's a sort of science-fiction aspect to Tesla”. In “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” Giancomo Rappaccini illustrates another “mad scientist”. Dr. Rappaccini executes botanical and...
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