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- Rappaccini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne In "Rappaccini's Daughter", Nathaniel Hawthorne examines the combination of good and evil in people through the relationships of the story's main characters. The lovely and yet poisonous Beatrice, the daughter of the scientist Rappaccini, is the central figure of the story, while her neighbor Giovanni becomes the observer, participant, and interpreter of the strange events that transpire within the garden next door. It is Giovanni's inability to understand these events that eventually leads to Beatrice's death.... [tags: Papers]
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- The use of Symbolism in Rappaccini’s Daughter Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work is unique. His writings are full of subtle imagination, analysis, and poetic wording. His short stories are known for their originality and for their ability to provoke the reader’s thoughts. Although a large portion of his stories are allegories, Hawthorne’s preference is to draw more heavily on symbolism (Pennell 13). His use of symbols adds depth to his stories and helps to reveal different aspects of his characters. In Rappaccini’s Daughter, Hawthorne uses symbolism to create a modern day tale of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.... [tags: essays research papers]
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- Nathaniel Hawthorns short stories, such as, Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment, Rappaccini’s Daughter and The Birthmark all have an underlying meaning and demonstrate a similar recurring theme. Hawthorne uses his stories to clarify his beliefs on the competition between nature, religion, and science in everyday life. In all three of his short stories he refuses the concept of science coming before religion or nature. Hawthorne clearly thought if nature or religion was tampered with using science it could only end badly, but more specifically with death.... [tags: Comparative Literature]
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- Nathaniel Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter American author Nathaniel Hawthorne has been described as a "realist" and one who assesses the American character within the plot lines of his novels. His story, Rappaccini’s Daughter, follows this style. Its scenario encompasses the main character of Giovanni Guasconti, a young student who is studying at the University of Padua in a southern region of Italy. It is Giovanni’s first time away from home and, being of limited resources, must rent an old, dismal, and run-down apartment. It does however overlook a beautiful garden belonging to a Doctor Giacomo Rappiccini who cultivates it daily with his daugh... [tags: Rappaccini's Daughter Essays]
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- In “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” a tale written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1844, many conflicts, both thematically and characteristically, take place and help to illustrate Hawthorne’s gothic and epic themes. Conflicts between modern science and morality, good and evil, and inherent human faulty are all made evident. Four main characters are presented as vessels for Hawthorne’s grand scheme: Giacomo Rappaccini, Professor Baglioni, Giovanni Guasconti, and Beatrice. Doctor Giacomo Rappaccini is a brilliant scientist, focusing mostly in the botanical sciences.... [tags: Hawthorne 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.... [tags: Rappaccini's Daughter Essays]
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- Man Against God in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter In the introduction of the story, Nathaniel Hawthorne describes himself as a writer trapped between two worlds. His alias, Aubepine, presents abstract concepts that would challenge the simple mind, but compensates for this by designing a dual meaning. His works contain the literal meaning, and the implicated meaning. Often, he would have to sacrifice his initial concept by injecting humor or other banal dimensions to the story in order to satisfy the lesser audience. In this story, a young man from Southern Italy becomes implicated in a scientist's bizarre practice. Rappaccini sacrifices his daughter's life in the name of... [tags: Rappaccini's Daughter Essays]
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- An Analysis of Rappaccini's Daughter: Nathaniel Hawthorne's Most Complex Short Story Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on the forth of July in Salem, Massachusetts. He writes of the sentimental affection for the town of his birth - he described his feeling "to the deep and aged roots which my family has struck into the soil" (DLB 144). Hawthorne's work is unique because of the combination of these three ideas: "love of his ancestral soil, a strong sense of the richness of the American past, and that moral quality of the human heart" (DLB 145).... [tags: Rappaccini's Daughter Essays]
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- Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter This essay focuses on the way Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter” articulates the tension between the spirit and the empirical world. Hawthorne challenges the empirical world Rappaccini, both malevolent for his experimentation with human nature and sympathetic for his love for his daughter, represents, by raising an aesthetic question Rappaccini implicitly asks. Hawthorne never conclusively answers this question in his quest to preserve spiritual beauty in an empirical world, offering the most disturbing possibility of all: could art and the artist prove as fatal to the human spirit as empiricism.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne Rappaccini Essays]
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- Negative Relationships in Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter How far reaching is the bond between father and daughter. To most, that bond serves to protect the child until she is able to protect herself, and then for her to be independent. For Dr. Giacomo Rappaccini and his daughter Beatrice, that bond was to be twisted and ultimately fatal for Beatrice. Beatrice, by her father's plan was never to be free and independent but rather isolated from the life of the world and dependent on the poison from her father.... [tags: Rappaccini's Daughter Essays]
474 words (1.4 pages)
The first theme to study is the drug as a double. The drug in the story is the shrub, called both belladonna, and Deadly Nightshade. Belladonna is both good and evil; it is both a medicine and a poison. Belladonna, also known as Deadly Nightshade, can only thrive in dark moist areas. Its deadly character is due to the presence of an alkaloid, Atropine. Belladonna is also an Italian word which means “beautiful lady.” (Grieve, History) Hence, Beatrice is the “beautiful lady.” Historically women would use the juices to dilate their pupils; pupils become dilated when one’s aroused, which would one appear more beautiful. Hawthorne, knowing exactly what this drug does, relates often the beauty of Beatrice’s eyes. Belladonna is said to record an old superstition that at certain times it takes the form of an enchantress of exceeding loveliness, whom it is dangerous to look upon (Grieve, History). Beatrice is filled with poison from this magical shrub. Her father had made this shrub for her and it grew from the soil on the day she was born. She considers the shrub her “sister” and she has nourished it her whole life with her breath. Both Beatrice and the shrub are described in very similar ways:
There was one shrub in particular, set in a marble vase in the midst of the pool, that bore a profusion of purple blossoms, each of which had the luster and richness of a gem, and the whole together made a show so resplendent, that it seemed enough to illuminate the garden, even had there been no sunshine. (37)
…cried a rich and youthful voice from the window of the opposite house, -a voice as rich as a tropical sunset, and which made Giovanni, through he knew not why, think of deep hues of purple or crimson and of perfumes heavily delectable. (39)
They are both described as being rich as the sun. It is important not to miss the importance of the color purple when Hawthorne describes both the shrub and Beatrice. The color purple is used very ambiguously when describing the two. A deep hue of purple is often associated with gloom, with sad and mysterious feelings. Contrastingly, the color purple is also associated with royalty and spirituality. By using the color purple Hawthorn shows the reader the double nature of the shrub and Beatrice. Beatrice, like the shrub, is often shown as both good and evil and she is as pure as she is poisonous: “…While Beatrice was gazing at the insect with childish delight, it grew faint and fell at her feel; its bright wings shivered; it was dead,---from no cause that he could discern, unless it were the atmosphere of her breath.” Poor Beatrice is as innocent as she is deadly. The theme of the drug as a double is most certainly played out in “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” We are introduced to the beautiful shrub, which is the drug Belladonna. Belladonna is as good as it is evil. Belladonna is good because it is used for medical patients, mainly with eye diseases.
“O, how stubbornly does love, ---or even that cunning semblance of love flourish in the imagination, but strikes no depth of root into the heart, ---how stubbornly does it hold its faith until the moment comes when it is doomed to vanish into thin mist.” (51)
The above quote represents the passion of Romance that Giovanni feels towards Beatrice. Hawthorne uses Dante’s Beatrice of The Divine Comedy as a basis for the Romantic relationship between Beatrice and Giovanni. Romance as the drug is an important theme in “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” Romance is Giovanni’s drug; he is simply overwhelmed and overtaken by the power this drug seems to possess. The symptoms of drugs are ainfully similar to the symptoms of Romance. The symptoms include but are not limited to: worshipping of images, confusion of thoughts, sleep deprivation, and heavy withdrawal symptoms. Romance can also end tragically. Romance is not the same as love. It can become love, but initially the romance starts with wanting something you think that you cannot have. There must be a barrier for romance to exist. The barriers in Rappaccini’s Daughter” are the father figures as in Romeo and Juliet. Even at the first sight of Beatrice Giovanni experiences his first symptom of romance:
…She had instilled a fierce and subtle poison into his system. It was not love, although her beauty was madness to him; nor horror, even while he fancied her spirit to be imbued with the same baneful essence that seemed to pervade her physical frame; but a wild offspring of both love and horror that had each parent in it, and burned like one and shivered like another… (44)
The very image of Beatrice has made Giovanni mad. He is worshipping the image of Beatrice, what he hopes she is. The “love and horror” are the double qualities that this drug, Romance, consists of. She has overtaken his thoughts, and turned them into a lust-filled obsession. Giovanni places the image of Beatrice on a pedestal, and his thoughts become solely dedicated to her. After Giovanni’s initial meeting with Beatrice he becomes so engulfed in this pit of Romance that he finds it hard even to sleep and stays up until dawn. Giovanni becomes confused in his thoughts. He thinks he loves her but cannot get the monstrous-like feeling toward Beatrice out of his head:
But now his spirit was incapable of sustaining itself at height to which early enthusiasm of passion had exalted it; he fell down, groveling among earthly doubts, and defiled there with the pure whiteness of Beatrice’s image…he resolved to institute some decisive test that should satisfy him. (54)
Here we see that Giovanni has worshipped the image of Beatrice. He has overstepped the barrier and no longer feels the desire he once felt in the beginning. The image of Beatrice, which he once worshipped, is ruined, but is it? Romance, as stated earlier, may end tragically. The death of Beatrice is the tragic ending. The antidote was Giovanni’s wish to rid Beatrice of her poison so that they could be together. He did not realize that Beatrice’s blood was the poison.
Nature and Science is the next double theme that is explored in “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” Both doctors are trying to manipulate nature and it ends in destruction. Beatrice and Giovanni symbolize how human lives can be destroyed when scientific experiments go amiss. In Rappaccini’s garden he plays God to his daughter and her “sisters”, the plants. He creates every perfect plant that lives within his garden’s walls. His plants are perfect and poisonous. It is appropriate to say that Beatrice was Rappaccini’s “guinea pig.” He has made her poisonous to the outside world to protect her from its evils. It may appear on the outside that he is protecting Beatrice, but in Baglioni’s words, “He cares infinitely more for science than for mankind….He would sacrifice human life, his own among the rest, or whatever else was dearest to him” (41). It appears that in his obsession with knowledge and science his fatherly duties have vanished. He is not trying to protect her, the powers he has given to Beatrice are ultimately for his own use. Dr. Rappaccini’s “sin is trying to rival God and subordinate human values to scientific knowledge” (Stallman, par. 19). He is the false God of an unnatural heaven. His garden is described as having,
An appearance of artificialness indicating that there had been commixture, named as it were, adultery of various vegetable species, that the production was no longer of God’s making, but the monstrous offspring of man’s depraved fancy, glowing with only an evil mockery of beauty.
Rappaccini trying to play God is evil because it is an imitation. The imitation is the double. It is also important to note again the double qualities of the shrub; it is symbolic of the Tree of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. So therefore, the double is in nature itself.
The themes discussed in this essay all revolve around the double. The whole tale is about the double—that what is good is also bad. The rivals in this story are both physicians who study medicine or the drug. In Greek Pharmakon is the drug, and the double to the drug is, Pharmakos, the sacrificial victim. The drug in this story is the shrub. The sacrificial victim in this story happens to be poor, innocent Beatrice. In this story Beatrice represents the victim of original sin, even though she has not committed any real sin herself. The sacrificial victim possesses double qualities as well. Beatrice is shown as a good hearted person, but she is also poisonous. The sacrifical victim is good because it takes away the sins of the other people. The shrub is the real object of sin. Does she represent Jesus, the sacrificial victim, who took our sins away? Beatrice dies because of the mimetic rivalry between the fathers. She is the hero, and the hero must always die. The resolution of the ambiguous double is the murder of the victim. The story also touches on the violence of rivalry; the mimetic rivalry between both doctors causes the death of an innocent person. Hawthorne is a master of words and to discover the meaning of his words you must reread and deeply analyze what he was trying to get across. Only a master of words can make so much of so short a story.