This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Science In Nathaniel Hawthorne's Rappaccini’s Daughter

1706 words - 7 pages

The short story “Rappaccini’s Daughter” can be seen as a love story about young man determined to be with his beloved, despite the fact that she is poisonous. However, when examining the text, underlying theme about science arise. During the time in which this piece was written, science was rapidly evolving. “All biological sciences must first go through a taxonomic stage since their data must be put in order before they can be employed in research on an analytical level”(Shryock 291) “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne uses Rappaccini’s unrelenting pursuit of knowledge that resulted in the tragic loss of his daughter; to show the productive and destructive powers of scientific discovery, which evolved American society during the 18th century.
The main character is a young man named Geovanni; he falls madly in love with Beatrice, the daughter of the mysterious Dr. Rappaccini. The scientist has a magnificent garden of poisonous plant that even nature could not produce; he had his daughter handling them which eventually lead to her becoming poisonous herself. Geovanni is warned by his teacher Professor Baglioni, that Dr. Rappaccini is known to use science to do unnatural things. “But as for Rappaccini, it is said of him- and I, who know the man well, can answer for its truth- that he cares infinitely more for science than for mankind.”(Hawthorne 1035) He was willing to sacrifice his own daughter to carry out his relentless quest for knowledge; and the ability to control nature.
Parallels that can be draw between the story and the destructive and constructive power of science that were at work during the18th century. These include the evolution of science, man’s desire to have dominion over nature, the advancement of medicine, and the misuse of science to justify inequalities. The productive and destructive powers of scientific discovery could also be seen as a power struggle between good and evil. These discoveries helped shape the views of 18th century American society. Parallels about religion can also be made by comparing Rappaccini’s poisonous garden and the Garden of Eden. The story contains many biblical allegories which hinted to the viewpoint of that time.
The most significant Parallel that can be made between the story and 18th century American Society is the use of science to explain the rank of creatures in nature. “The Mismeasure of Man” by Stephen Jay Gould is an important tool in critiquing the misuse of science to justify social inequalities such as racism and sexism. “In assessing the impact of science upon the 18th century views of race we must first recognize the cultural milieu of a society whose leaders and intellectuals did not doubt the propriety of racial ranking- with Indians below Whites and Blacks below every one”(Gould 63) Rappaccini uses the excuse that the world is dangerous to justify why her made his daughter poisonous. He fails to realize that he is actually hurting his...

Find Another Essay On Science in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Rappaccini’s Daughter

Perversion of nature. Comparing the ideal of science and nature at the time Rappaccini's daughter was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne

1472 words - 6 pages Giovanni also poisonous was not out of malice, but rather out of sympathy for Beatrice's loneliness.Hawthorne may have learned some of these elements from Shelley's Frankenstein, which was published only twenty years before "Rappaccini's Daughter." Dr, Frankenstein, not out of cruelty, merely zeal of science, created a being shunned by all and capable of immense devastation. Then tempted by mercy to create a mate for the monster, he grapples in the

Essay on the Conflicts, Climax and Resolution in Rappaccini’s Daughter

2718 words - 11 pages The Conflicts, Climax and Resolution in “The Rappaccini’s Daughter”              This essay will analyze Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Rappaccini’s Daughter” to determine the conflicts in the tale, their climax and resolution, using the essays of literary critics to help in this interpretation.   In the opinion of this reader, the central conflict – the relation between the protagonist and antagonist usually(Abrams 225) - in the tale

Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

685 words - 3 pages Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" is full of symbolism throughout the story. Perhaps the most interesting examples of symbolism include the title character, Young Goodman Brown, as well as his wife, Faith, and the woods that Young Goodman Brown enters on his journey. Included are many allusions to Christianity and also to evil and sin. These references are expressed mainly

Sin in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2509 words - 10 pages standard. The influence of Puritan religion, culture and education is a common topic in Nathaniel Hawthorne's works. Growing up, Hawthorne could not escape the influence of Puritan society, not only from residing with his father's devout Puritan family as a child but also due to Hawthorne's study of his own family history.  The first of his ancestors, William Hathorne, is described in Hawthorne's "The Custom House" as arriving with the

Sin in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

2142 words - 9 pages      Nathaniel Hawthorne's bold novel, The Scarlet Letter, revolves around sin and punishment.  The main characters of the novel sharply contrast each other in the way they react to the sin that has been committed             Dimmesdale's instantaneous response to the sin is to lie.  He stands before Hester and the rest of the town and proceeds to give a moving speech about how it would be in her and the father's best interest for her to

The symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Letter "A"

1585 words - 6 pages The Scarlet Letter: Symbolism of the Nathaniel Hawthorne's letter "A"The Scarlet Letter includes many profound and important symbols. In "The Scarlet Letter" Nathaniel Hawthorne creates the symbolism of the letter "A" to have different meanings. The "A" is the best example of the symbolism used because of the changes in the meaning throughout the novel. In the beginning of the novel, the scarlet letter "A" is viewed as a symbol of sin. The

Individualism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

1065 words - 4 pages Individualism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Often in society people are criticized, punished and despised for their individual choices and flaws. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author uses Hester Prynne to symbolize that those who challenge social conformities can benefit society as a whole. Though she has been banished for committing adultery, she sees that the community needs her. Through her

Unattainable Beauty in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birthmark

1077 words - 4 pages In today’s society, it seems that we cannot turn the television on or look in a magazine without being bombarded by images of seemingly flawless, incredible looking women. Women today are held to such unattainable standards of beauty, which leads to self-esteem and confidence issues. These standards have caused women to overlook the beauty that God has created in them and find their solace in science. We have make-up to cover our

Symbols and Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

1243 words - 5 pages Symbols in The Scarlet Letter      In nearly every work of literature, readers can find symbols that represent feelings, thoughts or ideas within the text.  Such symbols can be found in The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Hawthorne's book about an affair between a woman named Hester and a minister named Arthur Dimmmesdale is full of feelings of sin, guilt, hate, secrecy, and honesty.  There are many symbols within the novel

The Scaffold Scenes in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

894 words - 4 pages The Scaffold Scenes in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter In Nathaniel Hawthorne?s The Scarlet Letter, the Puritans constantly look down upon sinners like Hester Prynne, both literally and symbolically. The use of the three scaffold scenes throughout the course of the novel proved to be an effective method in proving this theory and showing how Puritan society differs from that of today?s. In the first scaffold scene, Hester is

Light and Darkness in the Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter"

757 words - 3 pages Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is one of the most analyzed and most discussed literary works in American literature and for good reason. Hawthorne's ambiguity and his intense use of symbols have made this work incredibly complex and incredibly bothersome. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses many symbols to give insight into characters and promote his views on society. The scaffold scenes in The Scarlet Letter tell the

Similar Essays

Love Theme In Rappaccini’s Daughter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1571 words - 7 pages “When love is not madness, it is not love” –said Pedro Calderon de la Barca, a dramatist. These words by Pedro Barca contribute to the theme of the short novella “Rappaccini’s daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. These words represent Hawthorne’s implied message because through out the story the feelings exchanged between the two main characters; Giovanni, and Beatrice has been nothing but madness. The reason this story has been madness is because

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter Essay

1132 words - 5 pages Nathaniel Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter        American author Nathaniel Hawthorne has been described as a "realist" and one who assesses the American character within the plot lines of his novels.  His story, Rappaccini’s Daughter, follows this style.  Its scenario encompasses the main character of Giovanni Guasconti, a young student who is studying at the University of Padua in a southern region of Italy

Man Against God In Nathaniel Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter

703 words - 3 pages Man Against God in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter In the introduction of the story, Nathaniel Hawthorne describes himself as a writer trapped between two worlds.  His alias, Aubepine, presents abstract concepts that would challenge the simple mind, but compensates for this by designing a dual meaning.  His works contain the literal meaning, and the implicated meaning.  Often, he would have to sacrifice his initial concept by

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Rapaccini's Daughter And Other Works

1675 words - 7 pages perfection in their community and an overall quest for something greater. The writers’ of this era emphasize on imagination and emotion and was influenced from the changes that were occurring in front of their very own eyes. A prime example of this is the literary works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and the common theme of science and the author’s fear and distaste it has on humanity that has been introduced. In the story of Rappaccini’s Daughter