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

Start Free Trial

Is fear stronger than love in "Rappaccini's Daughter"?

At the end of Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter," Beatrice says that she would rather have been loved, not feared. This remark may contain the theme of the story. Everyone in the story has mixed motives. Fear overcomes love. Giovanni's suspicions of Beatrice's motives sour his romantic intentions. Beatrice's fear of being alone leads her to be disingenous about her deadly nature--or so you could argue. Dr. Rappaccini says his experiment was intended to protect Beatrice, but you could argue that his fear of failure within the scientific community influences his experiment as well.

Is fear stronger than love in the story? Is fear stronger than love in real-life romantic relationships?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I would suggest that leaders have been debating this question since the beginning of time, but most seem to have determined that fear is a better motivator than love.  In everyday life, fear and love are intricately linked.  When we love someone, we are afraid to lose them.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial