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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Why was the experiment so unfair to Beatrice in "Rappaccini's Daughter"?

Since Beatrice had no say in the matter, it was extremely unfair for her to be used as a guinea pig by her father.

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Imagine that you had a father who was a scientist, and as soon as you came into the world, your father used you as a guinea pig to gain scientific knowledge; that this isolated you from the world and made you toxic to all others. This was the situation into which Beatrice was born. From the time of her birth, her father deliberately nourished her on  plant toxins to grow up to be impervious to poisons or illness and feared by all, but inevitably alone, since she was toxic to all. She could exist only in the poisonous garden cultivated by her father. She had no choice in this matter, since by the time she could have exercised any choice at all, she was already ruined in this way by her father. Rappacinni, it was said, "would sacrifice human life, his own among the rest, or whatever else was dearest to him" (4), in order to gain knowledge. This included his very own daughter, whom he sacrificed to his quest for knowledge. At the end of the story, Beatrice loses her life because her father cared more for science than for his own daughter. This is extremely unfair to Beatrice, who had no say in the matter at all.

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