Dr. Heidegger's Experiment Questions and Answers
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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What lesson or lessons do you think Hawthorne intended "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" to teach? What warning does the doctor give his guests?

The lesson that Hawthorne intends "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" to teach is that people should accept themselves for who they are. Unfortunately, Dr. Heidegger doesn't seem to understand this, nor do his elderly guests. Fed up of being old, they want to be young again.

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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On the face of it, it's pretty unrealistic for Dr. Heidegger to invite his elderly guests to partake of this elixir of youth only to urge them to remain virtuous when they finally become young again. The whole point of these senior citizens taking the elixir is that they're fed up of being old and decrepit. They want to be just how they were when they were young. And, as subsequent events will show, one can infer that during their youth they just wanted to have fun.

Therefore, it would be faintly preposterous for the good doctor's elderly guests to drink of his precious elixir and act as if nothing had changed. The whole point of turning back the clock is to make these old folk feel rejuvenated, to give them a touch of vitality. It seems rather silly, then, for Dr. Heidegger to prescribe how his patients should behave in advance.

One can understand why the old folk no longer want to be themselves. As well as being elderly, they're rather decrepit, and this is not a pleasant condition for...

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remhniang | Student

youth is wasted on the young!!!!

yaz5000 | Student

Lesson #1:There are some things which, because of human nature...they may be learned only through experience.

Lesson #2: Youth is wasted on the young!  When given a second chance, each repeated the mistakes of youth...they learned nothing.