Rappaccini's Daughter vs The Bible



The purpose of this paper is to introduce, compare, and discuss the short story "Rappaccini's Daughter," by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Specifically, it will compare and contrast the characters with those of Adam and Eve in the Bible, and show their commonality.


Hawthorne often noted that he did not know how this story would end while he was writing it, and perhaps that is one reason why it is so disturbing, dark and difficult to read (Woodberry 148). From the very opening, the reader knows this is to be a story concerned with good and evil, as Giovanni lives in a home where the former occupant was a "partaker of the ...

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The story even takes place in a garden, just as the Book of Genesis did, and the garden is the ultimate undoing of all the characters.
There is heavy Biblical symbolism in this story, from the garden itself, to the characters who dwell in the house and the garden. From the opening reference to Dante's "Inferno," and its' representation of Hell, to the obvious description of Dr. Rappaccini as the Devil by his lack of "warmth of heart" (Hawthorne 295), the theme of this story is clear. Hawthorne even likens some of the plants to serpents as they twine along on the ground (Hawthorne 294), implanting the idea that this garden is "Eden." He even calls the garden Eden at one point, and Giovanni wonders if Dr. Rappaccini is Adam (Hawthorne 295). We all know what happened when Eve befriended the serpent in Eden. He told her to eat the forbidden fruit, and when she did, their paradise was no longer their home. God had warned them not to eat the tree in the center of the garden, ...

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and selfish. Early on, Dr. Baglioni warns Giovanni that Rappaccini cares nothing for mankind, he only cares about his ability to learn more about his craft, and he will sacrifice anything, even life, to gain more knowledge. Again, he is the ultimate epitome of evil in this story, a man who will sacrifice his own daughter for science. Could there be anyone more evil, except the Devil himself? At the end of the story, Rappaccini even calls his daughter "terrible as thou art beautiful" (Hawthorne 315), and proves himself totally and irrepressibly evil, as his daughter dies at his feet. He has killed his own kin to satisfy his own whims, and he is not even repentant at the end. In ...

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Added: 8/7/2015 12:03:37 AM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2178
Pages: 8

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