In "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment," what was the moral of the story?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The moral of Nathaniel Hawthorne's tale, "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment," relates to the development of a person's moral character and feelings about old age.  In Dr. Heidegger's  experiment, in which he gives four friends a youth potion, he sees that, despite warnings and despite lessons about life, his four friends all reclaim their various character flaws along with their reclaimed youth.  In addition, he sees that the youth fades without having imparted anything of value to the friends' lives.  Heidegger also notes that their discontent with old age is amplified along with their heretofore partially dormant (due to the limiting restraints of old age) character flaws and they immediately concoct and pursue and impractical, wasteful scheme, that of finding the fountain of youth from which the water came.