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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What experiment did Rappaccini perform on his daughter?

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Rappaccini is a scientist who toys with nature, experimenting with poisonous flowers and plants. He transfers the poison to his daughter Beatrice, and she herself becomes poisonous, deadly to anyone who would come near her. She is both beautiful and dangerous, like the gorgeous flowers in the garden. The poison is such a part of who she is, woven in the fibers of her being, that without the poison in her system, she would die. And this is what in fact happens. When Giovanni, a man who had fallen in love with her from a distance, gives her an antidote to rid her body of the poison, it kills her, because she IS poison.

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