Symbols and Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter

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The Use of Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter Nathaniel Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter is perhaps the most complex and difficult of all Hawthornes short stories, but also the greatest. Nathaniel Hawthorne as a poet, has been characterized as a man of low emotional pressure who adopted throughout his entire life the role of an observer. He was always able to record what he felt with remarkable words but he lacked force and energy. Hawthorne's personal problem was his sense of isolation. He thought of isolation as the root of all evil. Therefore, he made evil the theme of many of his stories. Hawthorne's sense of the true human included intellectual freedom, passion and tenderness (Kaul 26). Hawthorne was also a symbolist who had enormous respect for the material world and for common sense reality. Hawthorne usually established a neutral territory somewhere between the real world and fairy land, where the actual and imaginary meet. His ultimate purpose was always "to open an intercourse with the world" and out of this came symbolism (Kaul 66). For example, the cross -hybridization of the plants in the garden is called "adultery (Newman 267). Rappaccini's Daughter was first published in December 1844 in the United States Magazine and Democratic Review under Hawthorne's own name. Before the story was even published Julian Hawthorne read the unfinished manuscript to his wife and she asked how it was going to end. Hawthorne was not quite sure how he was going to let the story end. It has been said that Beatrice's dilemma may have been a reflection of Sophia's (Hawthorne's wife) sheltered years when she was younger at home with her mother. While Giovanni's failure to save Beatrice or himself is a tragic reversal of Nathaniel's and Sophia's happiness together (Newman 258). In Rappaccini 's Daughter, it is full of symbols and symbolic allusions. Its setting is a fantastic garden filled with vegetation and poisonous flowers and in the center is a broken fountain. Hawthorne's focus is on Beatrice as she is seen by Giovanni. Hawthorne presents a trapped and poisonous Beatrice who needs a special kind of redemption. She is a prisoner in the garden and her body is full of poison.
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