CompareContrast Nathaniel Hawthorne's heroines in The BirthMark and Rappaccini's Daughter

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Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-64) was one of the well-known writers of his time. Some of his famous works (for example, The Scarlet Letter) are set in the backdrop of puritanical seventeenth century society in New England, with the underlying themes of sin, evilness, repentance, and redemption.


This has led to a few of them being described as "dark heroines" (Bell, 20); Beatrice Rappaccini, the bewitching daughter of the brilliant, but sinister scientist Rappaccini and to a lesser extent, Georgiana Aylmer, the beautiful young wife of the obsessed scientist Aylmer, are examples of poignant, yet powerful 'dark heroines'.
This short essay shall compare and contrast the heroines of two of Hawthorne's short stories, 'The Birth-Mark' and 'Rappaccini's Daughter' respectively. This essay shall cite appropriately from them and other secondary sources to show that, while both the heroines testify to their purity of character by their ultimate sacrifices, Hawthorne's portrayal of Beatrice Rappaccini more than Georgiana Aylmer, aptly suits a 'dark heroine'.
Both 'The Birth-Mark' and 'Rappaccini's Daughter' of Hawthorne warn the society regarding the excessive pursuit of science and technology without morality. The stories end as tragedies with the heroines falling victims to the evil obsessions of the dominant men around them. In 'The Birth-Mark' Hawthorne depicts his heroine Georgiana as a powerful image of beauty, that she is praised by her husband Aylmer as one who "came so nearly perfect from the hand of Nature" (The Birth-Mark 1021). She is young and beautiful, but for one "visible mark of earthly imperfection" (The Birth-Mark 1021) on her cheek. ...
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