Rappaccini's Daughter Questions and Answers
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Describe the character of Beatrice in Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Rappaccini's Daughter."

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Rappaccini’s daughter, Beatrice, first appears as a devoted and dutiful daughter who seems to have accepted her fate as “sister” of a toxic flowering plant. (Note, for example, how she sighs and crosses herself after the drops of sap from the plant kill first a lizard, then an insect.) This is something she has become accustomed to, although she claims to not have a knowledge of the science of plants like her father. Beatrice speaks lovingly to her father and also to the plant, which she embraces as if to escape the dreariness of common life.

She acts like a coy maiden when Giovanni tosses her a bouquet. However, just as the flowers and plants in Rappaccini’s garden appear somewhat artificial, one detects this in Beatrice as well. She is almost too good to be true and seems to have something unnatural about her. Indeed, she does. Her father’s love for her has led him to make her poisonous and unlovable by others. She lives for her “sister” plant and surprises herself when,...

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