Human Greed in Heidegger's Experiment

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story, "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment," contains much symbolism pertaining to the truths about life and humans' inherently evil aspects. Such characteristics are found in the personalities of the characters, as well as the various objects portrayed in the short story. Hawthorne also uses elements of imagery and allegories to depict the forbiddances and limitations of attempting to go back in time. Each of the five characters in “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” exhibit specific human idiosyncrasies. Mr. Medbourne is a man of greed and extravagance. His young, merchant days boasted of great prosperity. However, this did not last for very long, since he wasted the money earned. Even when he regains his youth, the former merchant attempts to calculate another way to earn easy money. Medbourne is too lazy to work hard for his money, because he wants to spend it more than he wants to earn. Colonel Killigrew is a man holding onto great lust and lack of temperance. His lust is hinted at when Hawthorne mentions that Killigrew "wasted his best years...in pursuit of sinful pleasures." Later, when he turns young again, Colonel Killigrew's lack of temperance becomes evident as he sings "a jolly bottle song." As he joyfully sings his song, he continues to eye the body of Widow Wycherly. He cannot let go of his desire to drink or control himself from his lustful cravings. Mr. Gascoigne is a liar and hypocrite. One learns of him being infamous at one point in his life early on, and his thinking never changes over time. There will be times when he vocalizes many, charismatic, alluring lines; he chatters on about “patriotism, national glory, and the people’s right.” However, there will also be times when Gascoigne quietl... ... middle of paper ... ...r every individual to grow as a person, and not to linger on in the past. In conclusion, Nathaniel Hawthorne shows many of the evil aspects of being human. Greed, lavishness, lying, hypocrisy, lust, lack of temperance, lack of self-control, secrecy, guilt, and selfishness are all parts of the evil qualities of human beings. The power to control time is also not one a mere human can possess. It is impossible for any mortal entity to turn back their own time. As one grows old, their experiences become a part of them and make a person who they are. No one is able to erase what has been done. However, every individual is able to take their inherently evil aspects of being human and turn them into good by learning from the mistakes they make throughout their lives. Works Cited "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment." , by Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1837. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.

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