Rappaccini's Daughter Essay: Finding the Heart in Rappaccini's Daughter

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Finding the Heart in Rappaccini's Daughter

In Hawthorne's short story, "Rappaccini's Daughter", Rappaccini is ostensibly a cold, calculating scientist. A pure scientist who would willingly give his daughter, himself, or whatever else most precious to him "for the sake of adding so much as a grain of mustard seed to the great heap of his accumulated knowledge" (1641). This leads most to believe that Rappaccini lacks any emotion and concern for his "scientific subjects" and their desires. This assumption, however, is incorrect. Rappaccini cares dearly for, if no one else, one person and is willing to use his science to meet her needs. This person is his own daughter. Upon Giovanni's angry outburst to Beatrice, Rappaccini says,
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Meanwhile, Dr. Rappaccini continues to be as "an artist who should spend his life achieving a picture or a group of statuary..." (1655). This twisting of plot and character usage, on the surface, enforces the idea that Dr. Rappaccini is exactly as Baglioni claims him to be.

Dr. Rappaccini, while calculating and determined in his science, is far from being cold and unconcerned for the emotions of others. Beatrice, who ought to know him best, tells Giovanni that Dr. Rappaccini is "aquatinted with the secrets of Nature," perhaps the most important of which is the secret of love (1653). Even in the creation of what is arguably his greatest experiment, the raising of his daughter, Dr. Rappaccini is more concerned with the welfare of Beatrice and her human happiness than with his reputation because of its eventual success. It is with her happiness in mind that he makes her a woman with "marvelous gifts against which no power nor strength could avail an enemy" (1655). Further, Beatrice dispels the "idle rumors" of Dr. Rappaccini raising her to replace Professor Baglioni (1647). In fact, because of his belief that Beatrice was being raised to unseat him, Professor Baglioni planned to secure his position and "foil [Dr. Rappaccini] where [he would] little dream of it!" (1645). Through his actions, Professor Baglioni reveals his twisted character and guides the plot towards one in which Dr. Rappaccini's science is no longer the question; but
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