Tragic flaw in Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” Essay

In literature a tragic defect refers in field words when the chief character ends up dead or defeated a characteristic characteristic of the heroes of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short narratives. “Young Goodman Brown. ” “The Minister’s Black Veil” . and “The Birthmark” . However this construct is even more extended and best explained in footings of “Hamartia” . Harmonizing to the Encyclopedia Britannica that word can be understood as an built-in defect in the hero of a calamity or a moral defect. other beginnings point out “Hamartia” as an mistake in judgement or accident that may take the hero to destroy as a consequence. From “The Birthmark” the reader can detect how the narrative starts with a happy love affair and terminal in calamity due to the actions and attitudes performed by Aylmer. the hero.

The tragic defect in “The Birthmark” is addressed to the faith and scientific discipline. specifically the morality and wickedness ( to withstand nature. to play God ) . highlighted issues in novels and short narratives of the American author. “The subject of wickedness. particularly secret wickedness. Hawthorne was fascinated with the thought of wickedness and punishment” ( Smith. 2011 ) . Aylmer. the hero is a scientist and philosopher passionate about his labour. until one twenty-four hours he develops a passion for a adult female without pretermiting his love of scientific discipline. he thinks he can intersperse his two loves. therefore indicates the storyteller: He had devoted himself. nevertheless. excessively unreservedly to scientific surveies of all time to be weaned from them by any 2nd passion. His love for his immature married woman might turn out the stronger of the two ; but it could merely be by entwining itself with his love of scientific discipline. and unifying the strength of the latter to his ain. ( Hawthorne. 1843. parity. 1 ) The passion of Aylmer for scientific discipline and his married woman Georgiana were his greatest strength to be a great scientist but besides his greatest failing can maintain his matter with her.

His pride by scientific progresss and his chase of flawlessness were dominating and undervaluing the power of nature. it was turning in haughtiness and certitude: “Ah. upon another face possibly it might. ” replied her hubby ; “but ne’er on yours. No. dearest Georgiana. you came so about perfect from the manus of Nature that this slightest possible defect. which we hesitate whether to term a defect or a beauty. dazes me. as being the seeable grade of earthly imperfectness. ” ( Hawthorne. 1843. parity. 5 ) Such haughtiness is the ground why the love affair became in calamity. Aylmer as devote scientist had been influenced by finds of the nineteenth century. For him the nature can be modified through scientific discipline. nature is flawed and adult male can better it. In a deeper sense. human life is imperfect because of the decease. besides the wickedness. imperfectness is a symbol of the mortal life and one of the intents of scientific discipline is protracting life ; so flawlessness is seen as infinity. symbol of immortality.

In the instance of Aylmer he is married with a adult female he considers about perfect. harmonizing to him she is so perfect that is indefensible see in her the birth-mark in her cheque. because that merely emphasizes merely a little imperfectness that amendss the beauty of a perfect work of art. something that recalled the mortal status of Aylmer’s married woman as the life of any other homo. a fact that made of ??the nevus a incubus for the twosome as describes the narrative: It was the fatal defect of humanity which Nature. in one form or another. casts ineffaceably on all her productions… The red manus expressed the ineludible kick in which mortality clutches the highest and purest of earthly molds. degrading them into kindred with the lowest. and even with the really brutes. like whom their seeable frames return to dust. In this mode. choosing it as the symbol of his wife’s liability to transgress. sorrow. decay. and decease. Aylmer’s drab imaginativeness was non long in rendering the nevus a atrocious object. doing him more problem and horror than of all time Georgiana’s beauty. whether of psyche or sense. had given him delight. ( Hawthorne. 1843. parity. 9 )

Such symbol of mortality. such defect of nature in a work about perfect could be enhanced by the manus of a adult male of scientific discipline as Aylmer who had one privilege in the narrative. “The privilege of a mortal adult male who is in ownership of something good but desiring something better and in an effort to better it ends up destructing it” ( Zanger. 1983 ) . At the precise minute when the hero of the narrative was acquire carried away by his haughtiness. the love affair narrative between the scientist and his about perfect married woman began to interrupt loose in a series of events that would ensue in a calamity with the decease of his darling Georgiana. So throughout this narrative can be besides seen to Georgina as a heroine whose kindness and love for her hubby made ??her autumn into the custodies of decease. Sing the narrative from the position of two heroes. one male and one female can be observed how those characters get each one a “tragic flaw” from two parallel points of position. While one of them falls into wickedness and shame because of pride and haughtiness. the other dies for desiring to delight the caprices of her hubby.

Both heroes fall at the same time doing clear the repression of the clip with respect to adult females and besides Hawthorne’s vision sing wickedness. as dictated within the context of 19th century. Following Georgiana and her tragic defect as heroine it is noteworthy how she is easy persuaded and dominated by her hubby sing the nevus “Expression of his laterality is the easiness with which he convinces Georgiana. after her fleeting ineffectual flower of opposition. that the grade on her cheek. which she. until that clip. had regarded as charming. is. so. a awful imperfection” ( Zanger. 1983 ) . being that the chief facet for her autumn in the narrative. Two heroes. two parallel “tragic flaw” turning in a calamity a romantic narrative. “The Birthmark” tells the narrative of a hero who loses his judgement to believe that he as scientist can withstand nature through his married woman ( who ab initio was disagreed but finally gives in an act of love ) and who intends to take from the life those small imperfectnesss that are in this narrative the bond that keep the psyche on Earth. because flawlessness is in the religious universe non in the stuff 1. “Alas! it was excessively true! The fatal manus had grappled with the enigma of life. and was the bond by which an angelic spirit kept itself in brotherhood with a mortal frame” ( Hawthorne. 1843. parity. 96 )


Hayashi. Y. Science and Religion in “The Birth-mark” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter” . Retrieved March 9. 2014. from hypertext transfer protocol: //www. kushiroct. Ac. jp/library/kiyo/kiyo37/hayashiscience37. pdf Hawthorne. N. ( 1843 ) “The Birth-mark” . Retrieved March 9. 2014. from hypertext transfer protocol: //people. bu. edu/actaylor/The % 20Birthmark. pdf Hamartia. In Britannica. com. Retrieved March 8. 2014. from hypertext transfer protocol: //global. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/253196/hamartia

Ohio University. Aristotle & A ; the Elementss of Tragedy: English 250. Retrieved March 8. 2014. from hypertext transfer protocol: //www. Ohio. edu/people/hartleyg/ref/aristotletragedy. hypertext markup language Smith. N. ( 2011. December 6 ) . Nathaniel Hawthorne: An Overview of the Author and Thematic Analysis of Works. Posted to http: //www. articlemyriad. com Zanger. J. ( 1983 ) . Speaking of the Indefinable: Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” . Moder Philology. 80 ( 4 ) . 364-371.