Rappaccini's Daughter

Rappaccini's Daughter - Paul Markakis A.P. English Period 6...

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Paul Markakis A.P. English Period 6 Rappaccini’s Daughter In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story Rappaccini’s Daughter , the biblical Garden of Eden story was explicitly alluded to. Other allusions were evident as well. Though some were mentioned during the classroom discussion and thus cannot be brought up again, there are many other ideas that Hawthorne presented. For example, from the onset of the story Hawthorne used color to add to meaning. 1 The “purple” in the blossoms that Giovanni immediately noticed is associated most typically with mourning. This was an appropriate color for these particular flowers because it was later divulged that these blossoms were fatally poisonous. As Beatrice spent more and more time tending to these plants, she became toxic as well. The “silver” in the vial used by Professor Baglioni to store the antidote that he believed would reverse Beatrice’s toxicity was symbolic of the sadness that Rappaccini and Giovanni would feel upon realizing that this potion would lead to Beatrice’s death. Most significantly, the black that Hawthorne repeatedly associated with Dr. Rappaccini was representative of many qualities of his personality. Black is symbolic of power, which for Rappaccini would relate most accurately to his power to create and modify the plants in his garden. Black is also related frequently to mystery, specifically the mysterious air surrounding Rappaccini when he laid eyes on Giovanni. Until the very end of the story, Rappaccini’s interest in Giovanni as an attempt to find a worthy husband for Rappaccini’s daughter is unknown to the reader. 1 http://www.princetonol.com/groups/iad/lessons/middle/color2.htm
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A specific word choice of Hawthorne’s occurred when he described Giovanni to have been drinking Lacryma 2 while Baglioni told him about the futility of his chase for Beatrice’s affection. Lacryma, more formally known as Lacryma Christi, is literally translated to mean “tears of Christ.” The name of this wine comes from the biblical story that the tears of Christ, after the falling of Lucifer from heaven, caused a divine growth of plants on the land where Lacryma is cultivated. This relates to Rappaccini’s Daughter because Rappaccini’s plans did not naturally spring from the ground. Instead, Rappaccini intervened in their growth from the beginning. The statue of Vertumnus 3 in Rappaccini’s garden is an allusion to the Roman god of change and plant growth. Vertumnus was known for his ability to change his form at will. He used this ability to trick the goddess Pomona and then cause her to fall in love with him. This turn of events in the story of Vertumnus foreshadowed the story of Giovanni and Beatrice.
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2012 for the course ENGLISH 100 taught by Professor N/a during the Fall '11 term at Johns Hopkins.

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Rappaccini's Daughter - Paul Markakis A.P. English Period 6...

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