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Essay: The Birth Mark, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
  • Reading time: 2 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published: 3 October 2015*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 492 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 2 (approx)

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1. Well we know that the story was written in the 1840s. The narrator tells us that it takes place ‘in the latter part of the last century’, meaning around the late 1700s. It talks about Europe when Aylmer’s youth is described. How all of Europe societies were roused with admiration by his discoveries.
At the beginning; you see that Georgiana is not bothered by her birthmark and neither is Alymer until they got married. She worships the ground he walks on and only wants his happiness even if she suspects that these unreasonable demands of his (such as getting rid of the birthmark) may kill her. He tells her about his dream that the birthmark leads to her heart. This would be a sign to be that maybe this isn’t such a good idea. It isn’t until Aylmer obsession grows and he continually makes a big deal about the birthmark. Georgiana eventually starts hating it too. This was a downward spiral for them both. Georgiana’s love for him and his love of science unfortunately led to the death of his wife and his unhappiness.
2. The death of Georgiana shows that knowledge can be deadly if used the wrong way. Alymer took advantage of his intelligence and tried to play the role of God ultimately killing his wife. In this time; culture teaches men that the more they learn they have the ability to manipulate nature. In the story, Hawthorne proves otherwise. Thus, showing that culture is a sign of self-destruction.
3. Giovanni was obviously furious that the poison was transferred from Beatrice to himself. He was the one that gave her the potion that killed her.His anger takes control over him and he mistakenly kills the one he loves. He knew that curing her from the poison within her would be fatal. He knew she had been that way forever because of her father. Dr. Rappaccini cared for science over mankind. It was obvious he just saw people as his next experiment unfortunately this is what happened to Beatrice. He was the one who originally started everything that led up to her death. He was the one that made her work in the garden and breathe in all of the poisonous fumes. Baglioni kind of used Giovanni and manipulated him knowing that he had feelings for Beatrice. He used him knowing that he would react making this the best possible way for Baglioni to win Rappaccini. His every move was in the name of science.
4. I think Hawthorne gives reference to the Garden of Eden, but in the inverse. Instead of everything being all good it is mainly all evil. Beatrice is very similar to Eve they both had the poison and gave it to Giovanni(Adam). Rapaccini can be seen as the creator he created the garden. Baglioni can be seen as the (devil) just like God and the devil are rivals so is he and Rapaccini….

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