© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Birthmark

The Birthmark


by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Georgiana Timeline and Summary

  • Georgiana marries Aylmer. Until now, she has liked her birthmark. But once her husband criticizes it, she begins to think of it as a flaw.
  • Georgiana is continually distraught by her husband's aversion to her birthmark. One night, she hears him cry out in his sleep, and the next day asks him to reveal the dream he had.
  • Finally, she asks if there is any way the birthmark can be removed. When Aylmer says there is, she agrees at once to its removal.
  • Georgiana is brought into Aylmer's lab. As they enter, he shudders at the birthmark on her face. She faints.
  • Georgiana wakes up in the boudoir that Aylmer has set up for her. She is entertained by his various scientific doodads.
  • Georgiana finds and reads her husband's lab notebook. She sees that he has aimed high and not reached his lofty goals. She begins to weep. Aylmer comforts her, and she sings for him.
  • She wanders into the real laboratory and is shocked to see that Aylmer's calm demeanor has been but an act. She reproaches him for lying to her, and says that she is not scared of the danger. She is ready as ever to go on with the procedure.
  • Georgiana drinks the elixir he brings her. She gets tired and falls asleep. The birthmark slowly fades from her face.
  • When she wakes up, she looks in the mirror and sees that the birthmark is barely perceptible. She smiles. Then she addresses her husband with tenderness and tells him that she is dying.