Negative Relationships in Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter

Negative Relationships in Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter

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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.

Dr. Rappaccini is obsessed with science and what the manipulation of nature can do for people. He is overprotective of Beatrice and thinks that he can provide the solution to all of her problems. Knowing the evils of the world as a young man, Rappaccini decides to take control over Beatrice's life and make sure no one can ever hurt his beloved daughter. By filling Beatrice up with poison, Rappaccini succeeds in keeping Beatrice from any evil; but at what price? Beatrice is free from any evil touching her, but she is also isolated from any good that may come to her.

What could Rappaccini's rationalization for controlling his daughter's life so completely be? It is probably due to a hard life lived by Rappaccini and the assumption that the world is evil and that there is no hope for goodness. But, what Rappaccini does not understand is that purity is chosen individually, not forced upon someone. "His insane zeal for science"(2251) has made Rappaccini obsessed with controlling his surroundings. From isolating his daughter through poison, to spying on her activities, to engineering his garden, to changing another human being with poison to be with Beatrice. But, that is not to imply that Dr. Rappaccini does not love his daughter with all his heart. In his own way he does love Beatrice beyond any measure. This is his justification for why it is all right that he be so controlling. He believes that with his love and knowledge he can provide all that his daughter needs. But, this is where Dr. Rappaccini is wrong. His love is not all that Beatrice needs, and therefore she is not happy in her evil-free existence.

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The statement made by Beatrice to her father, there was " more poison in thy nature than in mine,"(2255) exemplifies the mistake he made by isolating Beatrice from the world.

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