The Benefits of Reading Books
The central conflict in the story is between Aylmer and Georgiana, with Aylmer's obsession to remove a birthmark from Georgiana's face being the main source of tension.
Hawthorne develops Aylmer's character by showing his intense desire to be perfect, which leads him to push away those he loves in order to achieve his goals.
Aylmer is motivated to try and remove the birthmark from Georgiana's face because he sees it as a blemish on her otherwise perfect beauty.
The birthmark itself could be seen as symbolic of the imperfection that all humans possess, no matter how beautiful they may be on the outside.
Georgiana feels conflicted about her husband's obsession with the birthmark; on one hand, she wants him to be happy, but on the other hand, she doesn't want him to go through with any dangerous procedures that could harm her.
Aylmer does succeed in removing the birthmark from Georgiana's face, but at the cost of her life; after seeing her perfection without the blemish, he realizes that he loved her for who she was, not just for her physical beauty.
Some themes that Hawthorne might be exploring in this story include perfectionism, vanity, and self-sacrifice.