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Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist and short story writer.

Many of his short


stories have a common characteristics, his novels have heroes and villains who are not
really heroes and villains but mortal men. The heroes of the short stories are men and
women who try to become better people even though many a times they do falter too,
unlike heroes of other novels who have a very knightly character and the villains are
those people who end up doing wrong things to sometimes, something wrong that
happened to them. For eample, in Hawthorne!s most famous novel, "carlett letter!s, the
protagonist is Hester #rynne, a young women charged with adultery, a strange choice for
a protagonist, but then after being shamed and alienated, she becomes more
contemplative. Her problems turn her into a stoic and a freethinking person. "he turns
into a compassionate mother and moderates her tendency to be rash. "he tries to become
a better person even though she had made a big mistake$ "imilarly, the antagonist, %oger
&hillingworth is the cheated husband of Hester, he becomes manupulative and tries to
harm the person who had an affair with Hester. Thus, he is the antagonist because he is
unforgiving and wants to avenge the betrayal. This is the common characteristics found
in most of the characters of Nathaniel Hawthorne!s stories, the moral heroes, even though
they made mistakes and aren!t pure and flawless, fight to become better persons where as
the moral villains may have been wronged but they turn manupulative, 'ealous and seek
for revenge. %everend Hooper in The Minister!s (lack )eil is one such moral hero or as
*oodman (rown is another such hero striving to become better in +,oung *oodman
(rown+.
The story +(irthmark+ is about a brilliant scientist and natural philosopher Alymer and
his very beautiful wife *eorgiana who has a birthmark. *eorgiana is a very beautiful
woman, and everyone who sees her swoons over her and some may even die to 'ust touch
her birthmark. ,et, her husband Alymer finds the birthmark shocking and sees it as a
symbol of sin and impurity. He wants to remove the birthmark. First, *eorgiana is
adamant, she wouldn!t but later she gets increasingly upset as she loves her husband and
wants to impress her and finally she dies in an attempt to remove the birthmark by her
husband.
For me, Alymer is the moral antagonist in this short story. He is a brilliant scientist. He is
intelligent. He is a great thinker and philosopher. He has achieved great successes in the
field of "cience. He is even confident that he can turn base metals into gold, making
potions to give eternal life to its drinker and create humans from nothing. ,et, he has a
very big flaw in his character. He wants to control nature, he wants everything perfect
and he doesn!t respect life. -venthough he has so many good .ualities, he still commits
some mistake which turn him into the antagonist of this story. He loves his wife
*eorgiana, he even leaves his eperiments for sometime to marry her. ,et, he doesn!t
accept her as she is. "he is a gorgeous woman, yet her one flaw, which others 'ust see as a
birthmark, is a very horrible thing for Alymer. He sees the mark as impurity and sin. He
gets nightmares about *eorgiana and the birthmark. He is so obsessed about the removal
of the birthmark that he doesn!t even care about his beloved wife!s life. He doctors her
food and drinks to remove the birthmark. Finally, when *eorgiana confronts him, he asks
his wife to drink a potion which would remove her birthmark, not even caring if it might
kill her. "he drinks the potion, the birthmark is removed, but she dies. Therefore, even
though Alymer is a genius, eventhough he has huge capabilities, he looses his own wife,
who he loves, 'ust over his obsession of removing the birthmark and making *eorgiana
perfect. He couldn!t love her as she was and it is the biggest flaw of her character.
*eorgiana is, to me, the moral protagonist of this story. -venthough she knows how
beautiful she is, and how many men are ready to die to marry her or 'ust to touch her
birthmark, she is completely loyal to her husband, she loves him to death, and is always
trying to impress him. -venthough, at first she is adamant that she wouldn!t remove the
birthmark, when Alymer asks him to, later she becomes sad that her husband finds the
birthmark shocking. "he loves him so much that she is ready to do anything for him and
his happiness. "he trusts her husband completely, she passionately loves her, she lets him
control him completely, she respects him, she is ready to live in rooms decorated like
elegant boudoirs, breathing in character altering fumes and looking at fake images 'ust to
make her husband happy. "he is completely devoted to him. /n the final part of the story,
*eorgiana, very well knowing that her husband wants to remove her birthmark and it
could risk her life, drinks the potion given by her husband 'ust for the sake of his
happiness. Her birthmark is removed but she eventually dies, sacrificing her life for her
love. "he has her flaws, she is unable to stand up for her own happiness but then, she
even sacrifices her life for her love, thus making her a memorable protagonist.

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