Essay about “Rapaccini’s Daughter” Relevance to Modern Times

Essay about “Rapaccini’s Daughter” Relevance to Modern Times

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In Nathanial Hawthorne’s short story “Rapaccini’s Daughter” the theme of dangerous knowledge is acknowledge through his detailed explanation of the stories setting. The central idea of dangerous knowledge makes this story still popular in today’s culture because it is still a relevant worry among humankind. “Rapaccini’s Daughter” is about two lovers from a metaphorically separated world who cannot be together because Beatrice, the woman in the garden, is literally poisonous to everything she touches except for Rapaccini’s plants. By the end of the story the main character Giovanni becomes poisonous himself and tragedy befalls the lovers as Giovanni gives Beatrice what he thought was an antidote to cure them both but ends up being a sort of poison due to her nature of being a poison herself. Hawthorne wrote “Rapaccini’s Daughter” in the early 1800’s and he used it to warn about the dangers of the Industrial Revolution and how unchecked scientific experimentation and technology could bring about the downfall of humanity. Hawthorne wrote “Rapaccini’s Daughter” as a romantic gothic story to bring the elements of love and tragedy to explain how tragedy comes of greed, lust for power and selfishness. He was a writer of some renown and by the style of “Rapaccini’s Daughter” had always tried to tie his stories with a moral lesson to ponder once read. What makes the story so powerful is Hawthorne’s detail of the garden which is where most of the story takes place and holds all the symbolism readers must understand to grasp the theme of the story.
. Hawthorne had put much work in his detailing of Rapaccini’s garden to help guide the reader to his main theme of dangerous knowledge. First Hawthorne put a lot of symbols in the story to help r...


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...trying to create perfect clones of animals with no increase of success and the day that it is perfected leaves a thought if it will be used for good or evil such as the cloning of soldiers. Genetics is another modern worry of how science will be used since it can discriminate society and be used for evil purposes such as eugenics to make a “master race”. The mass destruction of nuclear weapons truly proves Hawthorne’s message of dangerous knowledge that should have never been tapped. This is why Hawthorne’s story about dangerous knowledge is still popular after almost two centuries of being written, the simple fact that humans will always pursue things they should not understand or should ever know.



Works Cited

Kolata, Gina. “Researchers Find Big Risk of Defect in Cloning Animals.” The New York Times. The
New York Times, 24 Mar. 2001. Web. 27 Mar. 2014

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