In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story The Birthmark, the narrator introduces us to Aylmer, a brilliant scientist who spent his life studying nature extensively to the detriment of his own personal life. His wife, Georgiana, has been marked with a small, red birthmark on her cheek that most men found attractive all her life. Aylmer only sees this birthmark as a flaw and his desire for perfection can only result in death for Georgiana because becoming an ideal, perfect being means she cannot exist in this world. He decides he is going to remove the birthmark to make his wife perfect, without knowing that by doing so he kills her.
Aylmer sees Georgiana’s birthmark as a symbol of human imperfection, …show more content…
Throughout Georgiana’s life, romance has prepared her for submission in marriage, but not martyrdom. After many “seasons” (205) of being aware of Aylmer’s obsession to maker her perfect, Georgiana “voluntarily took up the subject” of removing her birthmark (206). Inevitably she becomes to see herself as a “burden” (207) and “a sad possession” (217). Eckstein suggests that Georgiana “is a victim who participates in her own destruction” (5) and ends up dying a martyr to romance.
By surgically removing Georgiana of her imperfection, Aylmer also removes her of her humanity. Therefore by removing Georgiana of