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Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter".

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Literally, Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter" is the story of rivalry between two brilliant scientists that causes the death of an innocent young woman. Yet, when the story is seen on a symbolic level, "Rappaccini's Daughter" is actually an allegorical reenactment of the fall of man and innocence in the Garden of Eden. Each character from "Rappaccini's Daughter" parallels with a similar character from the downfall of man in Genesis. Giovanni Guasconti is similar to Eve, Beatrice Rappaccini identifies with Adam, Giacomo Rappaccini resembles God, and Pietro Baglioni corresponds to the Devil. The title character of "Rappaccini's Daughter", Beatrice, symbolizes Adam. She represents Adam in the sense that her father, Rappaccini created a garden for her to live in just as God did for Adam. "My father created it,' answered she, with simplicity. 'Created it! Created it!' repeated Giovanni. 'What mean you, Beatrice?' 'He is a man fearfully acquainted with the secrets of Nature,' replied Beatrice, 'and, at the hour when I first drew breath, this plant sprang from the soil..." (Hawthorne, 289). This conversation between Giovanni and Beatrice portrays Beatrice as Adam when she describes how her father built a garden for her to live in. Also, like Adam, Beatrice lives in a beautiful garden surrounded by every plant and flower, yet is deprived human contact. ...read more.


When the devil temps Eve to eat the fruit off of the forbidden tree, Eve has Adam eat it. Baglioni gives the antidote (which symbolizes the fruit) to Giovanni and has him give it to Beatrice to drink. "Behold this little silver vase. It was wrought by the hand of the renowned Benvenuto Cellini, and is well worthy to be a love gift to the fairest dame in Italy. But its contents are invaluable. One little sip of this antidote would have rendered the most virulent poisons of the Borgias innocuous" (Hawthorne, 287). Baglioni is explaining to Giovanni that that a sip of the antidote will cure Beatrice of all her poisons, it instead kills her. Just as the devil told Eve that the fruit was to make them like God, it instead killed them spiritually. For these reasons, Giovanni represents Eve. Also in the story, Giacomo Rappaccini represents God. He creates the beautiful garden for Beatrice to live in just as God provided one for Adam. "Here, Beatrice,' said the latter, 'see how many needful offices require to be done to our chief treasure. Yet, shattered as I am, my life might pay the penalty of approaching it so closely as circumstances demand. ...read more.


Finally, unlike Rappaccini, Hawthorne uses unsympathetic tones when describing how other react towards Baglioni. "But Guasconti, finding Baglioni's pertinacity intolerable, here broke away, and was gone before the professor could seize his arm" (Hawthorne, 282). Giovanni found Baglioni intolerable after he talked ill of Rappaccini. Also, in this next quote, Giovanni was very unhappy to see Baglioni. "A considerable time had now passed since Giovanni's last meeting with Baglioni. One morning, however, his was disagreeably surprised by a visit from the professor, whom he had scarcely thought of for whole weeks, and would willingly have forgotten still longer. Given up as he had long been to a pervading excitement, he could tolerate no companions except under condition of their perfect sympathy with his present state of feeling. Such sympathy was not to be expected from Professor Baglioni" (Hawthorne, 286). Both of these quotes show Hawthorne's negativity towards the character. Baglioni, as the symbol of evil in the story, represents the Devil. "Rappaccini's Daughter" can be interpreted many different ways. When looked at from an allegorical parallel to the fall of man in Genesis, certain characters from each story are strikingly similar. Giovanni represents Eve, Beatrice symbolizes Adam, Rappaccini parallels with God, and Baglioni compares to the Devil. In this modern retelling of Genesis, Hawthorne realistically portrays one of histories oldest stories in a manner of no other author. ...read more.

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