Vanity In Dr. Heidegger's Experiment By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s curious short story “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” is interwoven with many cases of symbolism. The intriguing characters and fantastical mysteries are drawn together with the frequent uses of symbolism and countless underlying themes. Each and every person plays a key role and represents an essential characteristic. The symbol of vanity expressed through Hawthorne’s character Widow Wycherly is illustrated by her flirty and taunting spirit, her indifference towards others, and her obsession with beauty and youth. Widow Wycherly’s flirtatious and coy behavior perfectly expresses her representation of vanity. She knows that all three of the male guests are attracted to her, so she flaunts that and attempts to have them fight for her. “But they were young: their burning passions proved them so. Inflamed to the madness by the coquetry of the girl-widow, who neither granted nor quite withheld her favors, the three rivals began to interchange threatening glances” (121). This excerpt shows exactly how the widow treats the men in the story. She flirts with the men enough to keep them after her, but not enough for one of them to truly have claim to her. This shows how she only thinks of herself. She sees the men fighting for her, and she only thinks of their attraction towards her.…show more content…
Wycherly doesn’t care for the men, only for their attention. She acts nonchalantly towards them and yet would nearly die without the attention. Vanity is fueled by others and yet disregards them as lower beings. “As for Widow Wycherly, she stood before the mirror, curtseying and simpering to her own image, and greeting it as the friend whom she loved better than all the world beside” (119). This quote was taken from the part in the story after the guests drink the water of youth. The moment she becomes young, the widow abandons all other things and only thinks of

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