Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment

Topics: Juan Ponce de León, Old age, Ageing Pages: 3 (1044 words) Published: September 10, 2012
Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment-by Nathaniel Hawthorne
With reference to the story comment on the subject of the story. The story is based on the desire of human beings for everlasting youth. Youth comes in life like a short lived spring and vanishes leaving behind a lot of regret and sadness. Youth, which should be the time to make the most of life, is often sacrificed at the altar of recklessness and frolic. Yet, the question which arises in the mind of the reader is that, if given a chance, will an individual who is given back his youth, learn from his mistake? The irony is that one doesn’t. The very nature of ‘youth ‘is to be rash, indulgent and the supremacy of the heart over the head and all advice fall upon deafness-that is the sad truth. In the story, there are five characters. Dr. Heidegger himself, an old scientist and four of his friends- Mr. Medbourne, Mr. Gascoigne, Colonel Killigrew and Widow Wycherly. All were past their prime and spent a sad old age with nothing but regret for their lost youth. Mr. Medbourne had lost all his wealth in speculation during his youth, Mr. Gascoigne, as a politician had earned only ill repute. Colonel Killigrew had spent his youth in debauchery. Widow Wycherly, who was a real beauty in her youth, had been embroiled in a number of scandals and had been forced to retire in seclusion. In the story, Dr. Heidegger represents wisdom which comes with age, while the other four symbolize wasted youth and miserable old age. Dr. Heidegger invites his four friends to his home and offers to return to them their lost youth. To him it was nothing more than an ‘experiment’. The four guests are incredulous about his proposal. To prove that he is serious, Dr. Heidegger brings a withered rose that had been carefully preserved between the pages of a large book bound by leather. It was a rose given to him by Sylvia Ward fifty-five years ago, whom Dr. Heidegger had intended to marry. Though the marriage had not taken place, the...
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