Rappaccini’s Daughter

by

Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Pietro Baglioni Character Analysis

Pietro Baglioni is a prominent physician of Padua, a university professor, and an old friend of Giovanni’s father who chooses to take the young medical student under his wing. Baglioni is an older, stately, seemingly jovial man with one exception—he strongly dislikes his professional rival, Giacomo Rappaccini. When he discovers that Giovanni has taken an interest in Rappaccini’s daughter, he warns the young man in strong terms to be on guard against foul play. Baglioni also resolves to himself that he will use his medical knowledge to protect the youth from wrongdoing. Hawthorne often depicts Baglioni as a nuisance to Giovanni, who would prefer to daydream about Beatrice instead of seeking Baglioni’s advice. After making inquiries without Giovanni’s permission, Baglioni uncovers that Beatrice is a poisonous woman. He says as much to Giovanni using a story about one such a woman who was gifted to Alexander the Great. Baglioni encourages Giovanni to confront Beatrice and find out whether he is correct—if so, he instructs Giovanni to administer an antidote that Baglioni has received from a colleague. Baglioni watches from Giovanni’s window, and after Beatrice drinks the so-called antidote and dies, Baglioni rebukes Rappaccini (with a mixture of horror and triumph) for meddling with nature, suggesting that the death of his daughter is a just reward. All in all, Baglioni seems at first to be a man of reason with good intentions (to protect Giovanni), but his jealousy over a professional rivalry leads him to harm both Giovanni and Beatrice. This shows that even doctors—consummate men of reason—are sometimes irrational, and that the bad parts of a person’s nature often outweigh the good.

Pietro Baglioni Quotes in Rappaccini’s Daughter

The Rappaccini’s Daughter quotes below are all either spoken by Pietro Baglioni or refer to Pietro Baglioni. 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

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:

“I have been reading an old classic author lately,” said he, “and met with a story that strangely interested me. Possibly you may remember it. It is of an Indian prince, who sent a beautiful woman as a present to Alexander the Great. She was as lovely as the dawn and gorgeous as the sunset; but what especially distinguished her was a certain rich perfume in her breath—richer than a garden of Persian roses. Alexander, as was natural to a youthful conqueror, fell in love at first sight with this magnificent stranger; but a certain sage physician, happening to be present, discovered a terrible secret in regard to her.”

Related Characters: Pietro Baglioni (speaker), Giovanni Guasconti, Beatrice Rappaccini
Page Number: 225
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:

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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Pietro Baglioni Character Timeline in Rappaccini’s Daughter

The timeline below shows where the character Pietro Baglioni 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
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... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Morality Theme Icon
Knowledge and Sin Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
The narrator notes that Baglioni and Rappaccini are professional rivals, and that Rappaccini is widely considered the superior party. When... (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
On a walk to clear his mind, Giovanni stumbles upon Baglioni. Giovanni is not eager to talk, afraid Baglioni will guess his secret, but the professor... (full context)
Science, Reason, and Humanity Theme Icon
Good, Evil, and Morality Theme Icon
Knowledge and Sin Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Days later, Baglioni pays Giovanni a visit at his home, which irks Giovanni because he wishes to “tolerate... (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
Baglioni’s visit revives Giovanni’s doubts about Beatrice. Giovanni buys a bouquet, reasoning that if the flowers... (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
...in thy nature than in mine?” She drinks the antidote and dies. From Giovanni’s window, Baglioni leans out and cries “loudly, in a tone of triumph mixed with horror…‘Rappaccini! Rappaccini! And... (full context)