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," what does Baglioni’s story reveal about his suspicions regarding Giovanni? How does Giovanni perceive this story?

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Professor Baglioni, when he sees Giovanni looking so different from the first time they met, grows convinced that Doctor Rappaccini has been making a study of the young man. Baglioni claims to know the look on Rappaccini's face—the doctor passes them with a look of "piercing and active intellect"—and he is certain that Rappaccini has made Giovanni the subject of one of his experiments. Giovanni, however, suspects that Baglioni is actually trying to "make a fool of [him]," and he breaks away from Baglioni and leaves the older man behind. Giovanni's defensiveness seems to show that his pride has overwhelmed his judgment. He does not recognize Baglioni's concern for what it is, and he shrugs off the one person he knows who could actually help him. After Giovanni departs, Baglioni gives further voice to his concern for the young man, as the "son of [his] old friend." The professor's own pride also flares up as well, however, as he remarks on the "impertinence" of Rappaccini to "snatch the lad out of [his] own hands [...] and make use of him for his infernal experiments." He seems just as upset by the fact that Rappaccini is preying on someone associated with Baglioni as he is that Rappaccini is preying on Giovanni at all. Later, when Giovanni reaches his lodgings, old Lisabetta offers to take him into Rappaccini's private garden, and he even suspects that this could be some trick—based on what Baglioni said to him—but he feels the need to see Beatrice no matter what. Thus pride, and perhaps curiosity or lust, has superseded his judgment.

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