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Describing Biblical Parallels in Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter"

Oct 08, 1999 425 Words
Describing Biblical Parallels in Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter"

In Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter," many biblical parallels can be found. The story duplicates the chapter of genesis in the bible in many ways. Ranging from the characters, to the setting, and even the deadly plant in the story. The account of Adam and Eve in Genesis 1-3 is extremely similar to the situation of Giovanni and Beatrice in the story.

In both "Rappaccini's Daughter" and the Genesis chapters in the bible, lush, beautiful gardens are the setting. Both gardens are exotic and pretty, but the garden of Eden is bright and tropical, while Dr. Rappaccini's garden is darker and mysterious. Both gardens are home to a type of "forbidden" plant, but the garden of Eden was created by a super-natural being, and Dr. Rappaccini's garden by Rappaccini himself.

The forbidden plant in Genesis is a gorgeous, extremely tempting fruit plant. The fruit on this plant are described as extremely tempting. However, these fruits have been deemed prohibited by God. The plant in Rappaccini's garden is a large flowering bush. The flowers on this bush are unlike any others and extremely exquisite. The two plants share the trait of "forbidden," but in different ways. The fruit on the tree in Genesis was forbidden simply because that was the way God made it. The plant in Rappaccini's garden was forbidden because it was poisonous. The only people immune to the poison of this plant were Beatrice and Dr. Rappaccini.

In Hawthorne's story, a parallel between Giovanni and Adam is established. Both are young men, and each was tempted by a woman. Giovanni in Hawthorne's story was lured into the garden by Beatrice; however, Beatrice was attempting to make Giovanni immune to the poison of the plant, so they could be together forever. Beatrice and Eve also share similarities. They both are the ones that first fall to temptation and which ultimately leads to each of their demise.

The serpent in "Rappaccini's Daughter" is clearly represented by Dr. Rappaccini. Dr. Rappaccini was responsible for luring Giovanni into the garden for his daughter, and also exposed to the toxin that led to his becoming poisonous and stuck in the garden.

The story of Rappaccini's daughter is an extremely enjoyable story with close biblical ties. The parallels are extremely apparent and also very important. What seems to be a story simply of fatal love is quite possibly a retelling of the opening chapter of the Bible, Genesis.

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