Rappaccini’s Daughter is a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The story was first published in the December 1844 issue of The Pioneer and was later included in Rappaccini’s Daughter and Other Writings, a collection of Hawthorne’s work.
The story centers around Rappaccini, a scientist who has created a poisonous garden, and his daughter Beatrice, who has been exposed to the toxins and is now immune to them. Rappaccini keeps his daughter hidden away from the world, but she eventually meets Giovanni Guasconti, a young man who falls in love with her.
Rappaccini tries to keep the two apart, but they eventually elope. Rappaccini then gives Beatrice a potion that will make her as poisonous as the plants in his garden. Giovanni realizes what has happened and drinks a similar potion so that he can be with Beatrice forever.
The story is an allegory for the dangers of science and technology. Rappaccini represents the scientist who is so focused on his work that he doesn’t consider the consequences of his actions. Beatrice represents the innocent victim of Rappaccini’s experiments. Giovanni represents the naïve young man who doesn’t understand the danger he’s in until it’s too late.
The story also contains several examples of literary devices, including symbolism, irony, and foreshadowing.
Symbolism is used throughout the story to represent the different themes. Rappaccini’s garden is a symbol for the dangers of science. The plants in the garden represent the different toxins and poisons that Rappaccini has created. Beatrice herself is a symbol for the innocent victim of Rappaccini’s experiments.
Irony is used to highlight the contrast between what Rappaccini claims to be doing and the reality of his actions. He says that he’s trying to create a cure for death, but in reality he’s creating a weapon that can kill. He also claims to be protecting his daughter from the world, but in reality he’s isolating her and making her dependent on him.
Foreshadowing is used to hint at the tragedy that will occur at the end of the story. For example, when Giovanni first meets Beatrice, she tells him that Rappaccini has warned her not to touch any of the plants in the garden. This foreshadows the danger that Giovanni will be in if he drinks the potion that Rappaccini gives him.
Rappaccini’s Daughter is a classic example of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ability to create a dark and suspenseful atmosphere. The story is full of symbolism and literary devices that make it a fascinating read.
In the literal sense, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Rappaccini’s Daughter is about a rivalry between two scientists that leads to the tragic death of an innocent young woman. When viewed on a thematic level, however, the reader sees that Rappaccini’s Daughter is an allegorical reenactment of Adam and Eve’s original fall from purity and innocence in the Garden of Eden. Rappaccini’s garden serves as the backdrop for this allegory, while each character in the tale represents one of Genesis’ key figures.
Rappaccini himself is a fallen angel, while his daughter, Beatrice, represents Eve before the fall. Giovanni Guasconti is Adam before the fall, and Baglioni represents Satan.
The story opens with an introduction to Rappaccini, who is described as a man so dedicated to his science that he has sequestered himself away in his own garden, where he spends all of his time working on his experiments. Rappaccini’s garden is full of beautiful flowers, but they are all poisonous. Rappaccini himself is immune to the poison, as he has been exposing himself to it for so long that it has no effect on him.
One day, Rappaccini spots Beatrice walking by his garden and is immediately smitten with her. He calls to her, and she comes over to talk to him. Rappaccini soon begins to experiment on Beatrice, exposing her to the poison in his garden in the hopes of making her immune to it as well.
Giovanni Guasconti, a young man from Padua, is also introduced in the story. Giovanni has come to study at the university in Naples, and he quickly becomes friends with Rappaccini’s daughter, Beatrice. The two young people are attracted to each other, but they cannot act on their feelings because Rappaccini has made Beatrice into a poisonous creature herself.
One day, Baglioni, another scientist and Rappaccini’s rival, tells Giovanni that Rappaccini is trying to create a poisonous creature in his own image. horrified by this news, Giovanni decides to confront Rappaccini. Rappaccini tells Giovanni that he plans to make Beatrice into the most poisonous creature in the world, and then he will release her into the world so that she can spread her poison wherever she goes.
Giovanni is so horrified by Rappaccini’s plan that he decides to poison him with a bouquet of flowers from his own garden. This plan fails, however, and Rappaccini dies without ever revealing the truth about his experiments to Beatrice. Beatrice herself dies shortly thereafter, never knowing the truth about her own father’s experiments.
The symbolism of these characters, as well as the setting, is conveyed through the use of poetic and descriptive language by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The narrative revolves around two key settings: an ancient Paduan family’s mansion and Rappaccini’s beautiful garden. The mansion is said to be tall and gloomy; it was the home of a wealthy Paduan noble who was desolate and unfurnished. This description establishes a foreboding atmosphere throughout the work.
Rappaccini’s garden, on the other hand, is described as a place where Rappaccini spends most of his time Rappaccini’s Daughter also contains references to the Bible and Greek mythology.
The first literary device used in Rappaccini’s Daughter is poetic diction. This is shown when Hawthorne writes, “It was Rappaccini’s garden that lay nearest to the house. It might have been called beautiful, were beauty anything but the aspiration towards perfection. As it was, not even its master appreciated its loveliness; for he had looked so long into Nature’s secret through the microscope that he had lost all sense of form and color.”
The language used here creates a picture in the reader’s mind of Rappaccini’s garden as being almost otherworldly. In addition, the use of words such as “aspiration” and “perfection” convey Rappaccini’s obsession with creating the perfect species of plant.
The second literary device used in Rappaccini’s Daughter is descriptive diction. This is shown when Hawthorne writes, “Even Rappaccini himself, did he pause to survey the scene, would have been astonished at its transformation. It was no longer a scientifically ordered array of plants, each labelled with its distinguishing name, and cultivated for specified uses…It had become a wilderness of bloom, in which roses run riot…” The language used here creates a vivid image of Rappaccini’s garden as being overgrown and chaotic. This reflects the change that has come over Rappaccini since he began experimenting on his daughter.
The use of these literary devices allows Nathaniel Hawthorne to convey the symbolism of the characters, as well as the setting, in Rappaccini’s Daughter. Rappaccini represents the dangers of science gone too far, while his daughter symbolizes the innocence that is lost when one is exposed to too much knowledge. The two settings in the story, Rappaccini’s mansion and garden, represent the contrast between darkness and light, ignorance and knowledge.