Book Cover of Rappaccini's Daughter

Rappaccini's Daughter

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The story is set in Padua, Italy, in a distant and unspecified past, possibly in the sixteenth century, after the Paduan Botanical Garden had been founded. Giovanni Guasconti, a young student recently arrived from Naples, Southern Italy, to study at the University of Padua, is renting a room in an ancient building that still exhibits the Coat of Arms of the once-great, long since extinct Scrovegni family. Giovanni has studied Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and remembers that an ancestor of the Scrovegni, Reginaldo degli Scrovegni, appears in Dante's Hell, as a usurer and a sinner against Nature and Art . From his quarters, Giovanni looks at Beatrice, the beautiful daughter of Dr. Giacomo Rappaccini, a botanist who works in isolation. Beatrice is confined to the lush and locked gardens, which are filled with exotic poisonous plants grown by her father. Having fallen in love, Giovanni enters the garden and secretly meets with Beatrice a number of times, while ignoring his mentor, Professor Pietro Baglioni, who is a rival of Dr. Rappaccini and warns Giovanni that Rappaccini is devious and that he and his work should be avoided.

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Nathaniel Hawthorne

United States

Hawthorne's works belong to romanticism or, more specifically, dark romanticism, cautionary tales that suggest that guilt, sin, and evil are the most inherent natural qualities of humanity.Many of his...

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