Rappaccini’s Daughter


Nathaniel Hawthorne

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on Rappaccini’s Daughter makes teaching easy.

Dame Lisabetta Character Analysis

Little is revealed about this old woman, beyond that she often can be found at Giovanni’s lodgings and that she knows a lot about Paduan society. When the youth first arrives, she takes to him because he is handsome. When he asks whether the garden out the window belongs to their property or that of the neighbors, Lisabetta tells him it is Rappaccini’s garden. She proceeds to share what little else she knows about the doctor. Days later, Lisabetta tries to catch Giovanni’s attention. This proves difficult, since the young man seems to be oblivious to women unless they are young, good-looking, and named Beatrice. At last, Lisabetta succeeds in disclosing that there is a way to walk into Rappaccini’s garden. In exchange for a gold coin, Lisabetta shows Giovanni how to access the garden. Lisabetta’s presence in the novel highlights how shallow Giovanni is when it comes to appearances—he can hardly perceive an older, unattractive woman.
Get the entire Rappaccini’s Daughter LitChart as a printable PDF.
Rappaccini’s Daughter PDF

Dame Lisabetta Character Timeline in Rappaccini’s Daughter

The timeline below shows where the character Dame Lisabetta appears in Rappaccini’s Daughter. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Rappaccini’s Daughter
Science, Reason, and Humanity Theme Icon
Dame Lisabetta is an elderly resident of Giovanni’s new home. Noticing that he finds the chamber gloomy,... (full context)
Gender Theme Icon
Upon Giovanni’s return home, old Lisabetta tries to attract his attention, smiling wildly but failing to catch his eye. She grabs... (full context)