Rappaccini’s Daughter

by

Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Giacomo Rappaccini Character Analysis

Giacomo Rappaccini is an old, accomplished medical scientist whose greatest work is a vibrant, exotic garden from whose plants he has made many powerful medicines. Rappaccini’s flowers are no ordinary garden herbs but rather plants cultivated to be poisonous. The narrator remarks that Rappaccini’s face looks highly intelligent but, even in its young years, did not evince much love of mankind. Baglioni points out that Rappaccini’s great passion is science and that he would sacrifice anything, including human life, in pursuit of scientific knowledge. In fact, Rappaccini loves his daughter, Beatrice, so much that he put poison in her veins so that she can protect herself against anyone. Unfortunately, in making this decision, Rappaccini underestimated his daughter’s desire for companionship. When he spots Giovanni visiting his daughter and sees that they get along, he makes a plan to poison Giovanni’s body, as well—that way, his daughter will have a life partner. His plan backfires when Giovanni accuses Beatrice of poisoning him and rebukes her, breaking her heart. Beatrice drinks a potion designed to detoxify her body, but it winds up killing her. In losing his daughter, Rappaccini pays the price for meddling with nature.

Giacomo Rappaccini Quotes in Rappaccini’s Daughter

The Rappaccini’s Daughter quotes below are all either spoken by Giacomo Rappaccini or refer to Giacomo Rappaccini. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Science, Reason, and Humanity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Rappaccini’s Daughter published in 2011.
Rappaccini’s Daughter Quotes

It was strangely frightful to the young man’s imagination to see this air of insecurity in a person cultivating a garden, that most simple and innocent of human toils, and which had been alike the joy and labor of the unfallen parents of the race. Was this garden, then, the Eden of the present world? And this man, with such a perception of harm in what his own hands caused to grow,—was he the Adam?

Related Characters: Giovanni Guasconti, Giacomo Rappaccini
Related Symbols: The Garden
Page Number: 209
Explanation and Analysis:

For some purpose or other, this man of science is making a study of you. I know that look of his! It is the same that coldly illuminates his face as he bends over a bird, a mouse, or a butterfly, which, in pursuance of some experiment, he has killed by the perfume of a flower; a look as deep as Nature itself, but without Nature’s warmth of love. Signor Giovanni, I will stake my life upon it, you are the subject of one of Rappaccini’s experiments!

Related Characters: Pietro Baglioni (speaker), Giovanni Guasconti, Giacomo Rappaccini
Related Symbols: The Garden
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:

It is not yet too late for the rescue. Possibly we may even succeed in bringing back this miserable child within the limits of ordinary nature, from which her father’s madness has estranged her.

Page Number: 227
Explanation and Analysis:

As he drew near, the pale man of sciences seemed to gaze with a triumphant expression at the beautiful youth and maiden, as might an artist who should spend his life in achieving a picture or a group of statuary and finally be satisfied with his success. He paused; his bent form grew erect with conscious power; he spread out his hands over them in the attitude of a father imploring a blessing upon his children; but those were the same hands that had thrown poison into the stream of their lives. Giovanni trembled. Beatrice shuddered nervously, and pressed her hand upon her heart.

Page Number: 233
Explanation and Analysis:

“I would fain have been loved, not feared,” murmured Beatrice, sinking down upon the ground. “But now it matters not. I am going, father, where the evil which thou hast striven to mingle with my being will pass away like a dream—like the fragrance of these poisonous flowers, which will no longer taint my breath among the flowers of Eden. Farewell, Giovanni! Thy words of hatred are like lead within my heart; but they, too, will fall away as I ascend. Oh, was there not, from the first, more poison in thy nature than in mine?”

Related Characters: Beatrice Rappaccini (speaker), Giacomo Rappaccini
Related Symbols: The Garden
Page Number: 233
Explanation and Analysis:

Just at that moment Professor Pietro Baglioni looked forth from the window, and called loudly, in a tone of triumph mixed with horror, to the thunder-stricken man of science,—“Rappaccini! Rappaccini! and is this the upshot of your experiment!”

Related Characters: Pietro Baglioni (speaker), Beatrice Rappaccini, Giacomo Rappaccini
Page Number: 234
Explanation and Analysis:
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Giacomo Rappaccini Character Timeline in Rappaccini’s Daughter

The timeline below shows where the character Giacomo Rappaccini 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
...not belong to this house because of what grows there. The garden belongs to Giacomo Rappaccini, a famous doctor who blends plants to create “medicines as potent as a charm.” She... (full context)
Science, Reason, and Humanity Theme Icon
Good, Evil, and Morality Theme Icon
Love, Passion, and Doubt Theme Icon
Knowledge and Sin Theme Icon
As Giovanni gazes down, a “tall, emaciated, sallow, and sickly-looking man” emerges. This is Giacomo Rappaccini. He is “beyond the middle term of life,” with “a face singularly marked with intellect... (full context)
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Love, Passion, and Doubt Theme Icon
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When Rappaccini reaches the purple flowers hanging beside the fountain, he puts on a mask. However, he... (full context)
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...back his curtains and gazes into the sunny garden, which looks “real and matter-of-fact.” Neither Rappaccini nor Beatrice is in the garden, so he cannot verify whether they possess strange traits,... (full context)
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Good, Evil, and Morality Theme Icon
Knowledge and Sin Theme Icon
That day, Giovanni visits Professor Pietro Baglioni, “an ancient friend” of Giovanni’s father. The professor is “an elderly personage, apparently of genial nature, and habits that might almost... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Morality Theme Icon
Knowledge and Sin Theme Icon
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The narrator notes that Baglioni and Rappaccini are professional rivals, and that Rappaccini is widely considered the superior party. When Giovanni mentions... (full context)
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Knowledge and Sin Theme Icon
...to talk, afraid Baglioni will guess his secret, but the professor persists. As they converse, Rappaccini passes them and gazes at Giovanni carefully with “a look deep as Nature itself.” Baglioni... (full context)
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...catch his eye. She grabs him and announces that there is a secret entrance to Rappaccini’s garden. He turns to her, surprised as though “an inanimate thing should start into feverish... (full context)
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...it not!” His hand thrills at the touch, and she swiftly disappears. Giovanni notices that Rappaccini has been watching them. (full context)
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...Indian woman from a rival only to discover her breath was poisoned. Baglioni states that Rappaccini may have created a similar monster using science. Baglioni notices a floral, vaguely poisonous scent... (full context)
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Giovanni asks where the purple shrub originated, and Beatrice says her father made it. “It was my sister, and I loved it with a human affection,” she... (full context)
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Beatrice protests that her father, not she, must have done this to Giovanni. With this, Giovanni’s wrath subsides and he... (full context)
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Good, Evil, and Morality Theme Icon
Love, Passion, and Doubt Theme Icon
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At this point, Rappaccini emerges and “seemed to gaze with a triumphant expression at the beautiful youth and maiden,... (full context)
Science, Reason, and Humanity Theme Icon
Good, Evil, and Morality Theme Icon
Love, Passion, and Doubt Theme Icon
Knowledge and Sin Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...Giovanni’s window, Baglioni leans out and cries “loudly, in a tone of triumph mixed with horror…‘Rappaccini! Rappaccini! And is this the upshot of your experiment!’” (full context)