Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment


Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment Characters

Dr. Heidegger

Dr. Heidegger is an enigmatic old medical doctor who performs an experiment on his four elderly friends to test the hypothesis that youth is inseparable from folly. Though Dr. Heidegger is a scientist, his study… read analysis of Dr. Heidegger

Widow Wycherly

Widow Wycherly (whose first name is actually Clara) was a beautiful woman in her youth, but has lived in “deep seclusion” for many years because a scandal ruined her reputation and turned the townspeople against… read analysis of Widow Wycherly

Colonel Killigrew

Colonel Killigrew “wasted his best years … in pursuit of sinful pleasures,” meaning that, at the very least, he was probably an alcoholic—and now he suffers the negative effects of his behavior, both physically and… read analysis of Colonel Killigrew

Sylvia Ward

Sylvia Ward was once the fiancée of Dr. Heidegger, but she died on the eve of their wedding after taking some of Dr. Heidegger’s medicine by mistake. Her portrait hangs in his study, and is… read analysis of Sylvia Ward
Minor Characters
Mr. Medbourne
Mr. Medbourne was once a successful merchant, but he lost his fortune in a risky business investment and is now very poor. When he drinks from the Fountain of Youth, he begins hatching new business schemes and, like all the others, becomes infatuated with the now-young Widow Wycherly.
Mr. Gascoigne
Mr. Gascoigne was once notorious for being an evil, crooked politician, but time has forgotten him. When he drinks from the Fountain of Youth he begins speaking near-nonsense about vague political issues and ideals—and, like all the others, becomes infatuated with the now-young Widow Wycherly.