man and woman looking at one another and the woman is filled with plants and vines that are creeping into the man's body

Rappaccini's Daughter

by Nathaniel Hawthorne
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In "Rappaccini's Daughter," why doesn’t Beatrice want Giovanni to touch the plant? Why does she protect him? Explain.

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Beatrice does not want Giovanni to touch the plant because she knows that it would cause Giovanni harm.

That is the simple answer, but exploring why she doesn't want Giovanni to come to harm or die is a subjective exploration. You could argue that Beatrice is simply altruistic in nature...

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Beatrice does not want Giovanni to touch the plant because she knows that it would cause Giovanni harm.

That is the simple answer, but exploring why she doesn't want Giovanni to come to harm or die is a subjective exploration. You could argue that Beatrice is simply altruistic in nature and would not have let any person touch the plant. She knows what would happen, and she doesn't wish that fate upon anybody. You could also argue that Beatrice prevents Giovanni from touching the plant in order to make sure that he has the ability to come back and visit her again. In my opinion, this is the best reason. Beatrice has been prevented from leaving the property her entire life. She is extremely naive and clueless about the outside world, and Giovanni offers her knowledge about it. It is why she asks him many questions about the outside world. Beatrice protects Giovanni so that she can keep learning from him.

Also, there is some attraction between the two characters, and Beatrice wants to allow the attraction to grow. Giovanni isn't likely to come back and pursue the romantic relationship if he knows being in the garden is potentially a life-threatening location or at least detrimental to his health. A reader also might be able to argue that Beatrice is instantly in love with Giovanni: this then allows readers to discuss the concept of love at first sight. Beatrice is in love with Giovanni, and she would do anything to protect him.

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