Nathaniel Hawthorne, an American novelist lived from 1804 to 1864. Hawthorne’s works
are deeply concerned with the ethical problems of sin, punishment, and atonement. He
graduated from Bowdoin College in 1825 and returned to his Salem home living in
semi-seclusion and writing. Hawthorne’s exploration of these themes were related to the
sense of guilt he felt about the roles of his ancestors in the 17th-century persecution of
Quakers and in the 1692 witchcraft trials of Salem, Massachusetts. Hawthorne’s views on
women in male dominated roles were portrayed as the weaker sex.
Allegory and symbolism are combined in Hawthorne’s work to create sarcasm and
deep thought to his novels. Allegory is a narrative, either in verse or prose, in which
characters, action, and setting represent abstract concepts apart from the literal meaning of
a story. Symbolism is used to designate an abstract quality or concept. Through both of
these concepts Hawthorne revealed the irony in his writings. These elements helped
Hawthorne become a leader in the development of the short story.
“Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” contained mostly romantic symbolism. Dr.
Heidegger is the perfect example of the scientific world gone mad. Medbourne is mostly
interested in the economy and is a corrupted businessman. Killigrien is basically interested