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Rappaccinis Daughter - Essay Example

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“Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is an intriguing tale of unrequited love and heartache where a young couple suffers because of the selfishness of the two rivals Rappaccini and Baglioni…
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Rappaccinis Daughter
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Download file to see previous pages Furthermore it is observed that generally women are physically weaker than men that has led to an imbalance in power throughout the history of mankind, this can also be seen in “Rappaccini’s Daughter” and the control of her father over her. As Homas and Zaitzow also state that, “men and women are socialized from birth into gender-specific roles based on social definitions of masculinity and femininity…women are expected to be weak, dependent, passive, emotional, noncompetitive and subservient” (184). A similar behavior is also observed towards Beatrice as well throughout the course of the story may it be in Beatrice’s relationship with her Giovanni or her father or her suffering because of Baglioni’s poison. Throughout the story Rappaccini treats her daughter as his property or better yet as a specimen for his experiments. Moreover according to Baglioni Rappaccini, Cares infinitely more for science than for mankind. His patients are interesting to him only as subjects for some new experiment. He would sacrifice human life, his own among the rest, or whatever else was dearest to him, for the sake of adding so much as a grain of mustard seed to the great heap of his accumulated knowledge (). These lines aptly illustrates Rappaccini’s obsession with his experiments and hints on the fact that her daughter might be a part of his experiments which is later confirmed in the story. If the reasons for such manipulation are delved deeper, then the readers infer that since no one could question him for his actions in those times because daughters were considered as the responsibility of their fathers hence that gave him the right to decide her fate and he got away with his machinations. This also explains Rappaccini’s actions of choosing Giovanni as his future son-in-law as well as a new experiment because he thought he was making the best decision for his daughter. As the girl states, “But my father,--he has united us in this fearful sympathy” (). Then again it is also interesting to note the manner in which the women of those times were brought up i.e. they were taught to be docile and made the sacrificing souls for all times. As it is also apparent from the lines when she says, “Yes; spurn me, tread upon me, kill me! Oh, what is death after such words as thine” (). Although she realizes it was her father’s Machiavellian plotting that has poisoned Giovanni for life yet she asks for death rather than either confronting her father or letting Giovanni confront him. Moreover the title of the story also suggests the nameless existence of the daughter who is known as Rappaccini’s daughter rather than being given a name. This anonymity in the title also symbolizes the mind set of that society where women were properties who were owned rather than individuals. Moreover it is interesting to note that there is a constant power struggle going on between Rappaccini and Baglioni as well as Rappaccini and Giovanni while their pawn in this game of power struggle is Beatrice. As it is observed that in the former’s case Baglioni suggests to use the antidote to save Beatrice without her consent and although it is not actually stated in the story yet the readers can infer that one of the reasons that Baglioni interferes is that he wants to unveil Rappaccini’s practice and assure that his position as a professor is secure. As it is mentioned in the text that he says, “Rappaccini is said to have instructed her deeply in his science, and that, young and beautiful as fame reports her, she is already qualified to fill a professor's chair. Perchance her father destines her for mine!” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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