Literary analysis of "Rappaccini's Daughter"

Topics: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Poison, Love Pages: 3 (1091 words) Published: June 23, 2004
In many of Nathaniel Hawthorne's short stories, he creates characters with either a malicious or evil feature to relay to the reader a more allegorical meaning. In the story " Rapaccinni's Daughter" he uses Beatrice as a carrier of a deadly poison. Beatrice's relationship with Giovanni is the main plot of the story. To Giovanni, she is the woman who represents death and enslaves him but in reality she is not deliberately harmful to him. She becomes a focus of Giovannis fantasies, fears, and desires, and is credited or punished by him for various evil intentions which in fact stem from his own mind. As Giovanni admires her from afar, meets her, and has a final confrontation with her, we see that he is the one with the poisonous heart.

Giovanni, the would-be lover, alternates between obsession with Beatrice, which he considers love, and abhorrence of her as shown when he says he felt "a wild offspring of love and horror that had each parent in it, and burned like one and shivered like the other". (655) Giovanni is infatuated with Beatrice from the first moment he sees her in the garden below her window. Yet he senses something dangerous about her, especially because of her resemblance and immunity to the purple-flowered plant her father so carefully avoids. But his association of Beatrice with the plant is only partially correct. Although both are beautiful and dangerous, Beatrice has human qualities that are more than Giovanni's fantasies. She is often described as rich and deep, both indicating that she also has an abundance of character and does not represent only the physical beauty that Giovanni sees in her. He is drawn to her beauty and her sexuality and she becomes a fantasy so strong that he does not want to see the danger in her, he wants to believe he can 'fix" her to be his "ideal woman".

Upon Giovanni's first meeting with Beatrice she warns him almost immediately by saying "Believe nothing of me save what you see with your own eyes"(658). Since...
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