Rappaccini's Daughter Essay: Allegory of the Garden of Eden

1629 Words7 Pages
In the literal sense, Nathaniel Hawthorn's Rappaccini's Daughter is the story about the rivalry between two scientists that ultimately causes the destruction of an innocent young woman. However, when the story is examined on a symbolic level, the reader sees that Rappaccini's Daughter is an allegorical reenactment of the original fall from innocence and purity in the Garden of Eden. Rappaccini's garden sets the stage of this allegory, while the characters of the story each represent the important figures from the Genesis account. Through the literary devices of poetic and descriptive diction, Nathaniel Hawthorne conveys the symbolism of these characters, as well as the setting.

The story takes place in mid-nineteenth century in
…show more content…
Hawthorne directly compares this beautiful garden to Eden when he writes, "Was this garden, then the Eden of the present world?" Thus, Rappaccini's garden symbolizes the setting of the initial fall of man.

In Rappaccini's Daughter, the original sinners, Adam and Eve, are represented by Giovanni Guasconti and Beatrice Rappaccini. Giovanni symbolizes Adam in the sense that he is shallow and insincere. When Giovanni first sees Beatrice, he is love struck. Hawthorne uses poetic diction when he writes, "…the impression which the fair stranger made upon him was as if here were another flower…as beautiful as they, more beautiful than the richest of them." This passage describes Giovanni's feelings towards the beautiful Beatrice. However, later we see that Giovanni's love was actually lust when the student discovers that he has been infected by Beatrice. The author writes, "Giovanni's rage broke forth from his sullen gloom like a lightning flash out of a dark cloud. 'Accursed one!' cried he, with venomous scorn and anger" Giovanni becomes enraged and blames Beatrice of this accidental infection. Similarly, Adam blames Eve of their disobedience when he is confronted by God. Adam does not show compassion towards his wife but instead, like Giovanni, lashes out with anger against Eve.

Hawthorne's critical

More about Rappaccini's Daughter Essay: Allegory of the Garden of Eden

Get Access