Describing Biblical Parallels in Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter"
In Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter," many biblical parallels can be
found. The story duplicates the chapter of genesis in the bible in many ways.
Ranging from the characters, to the setting, and even the deadly plant in the
story. The account of Adam and Eve in Genesis 1-3 is extremely similar to the
situation of Giovanni and Beatrice in the story.
In both "Rappaccini's Daughter" and the Genesis chapters in the bible,
lush, beautiful gardens are the setting. Both gardens are exotic and pretty,
but the garden of Eden is bright and tropical, while Dr. Rappaccini's garden is
darker and mysterious. Both gardens are home to a type of "forbidden" plant,
but the garden of Eden was created by a super-natural being, and Dr.
Rappaccini's garden by Rappaccini himself.
The forbidden plant in Genesis is a gorgeous, extremely tempting fruit
plant. The fruit on this plant are described as extremely tempting. However,
these fruits have been deemed prohibited by God. The plant in Rappaccini's
garden is a large flowering bush. The flowers on this bush are unlike any
others and extremely exquisite. The two plants share the trait of "forbidden,"
but in different ways. The fruit on the tree in Genesis was forbidden simply
because that was the way God made it. The plant in Rappaccini's garden was
forbidden because it was poisonous. The only people immune to the poison of
this plant were Beatrice and Dr. Rappaccini.
In Hawthorne's story, a parallel between Giovanni and Adam is
established. Both are young men, and each was tempted by a woman. Giovanni in
Hawthorne's story was lured into the garden by Beatrice; however, Beatrice was
attempting to make Giovanni immune to the poison of the plant, so they could be
together forever. Beatrice and Eve also share similarities. They both are the
ones that first fall to temptation and which ultimately leads to each of their
The serpent in "Rappaccini's Daughter" is clearly represented by Dr.
Rappaccini. Dr. Rappaccini was responsible for luring Giovanni into the garden
for his daughter, and also exposed to the toxin that led to his becoming
poisonous and stuck in the garden.
The story of Rappaccini's daughter is an extremely enjoyable story with
close biblical ties. The parallels are extremely apparent and also very
important. What seems to be a story simply of fatal love is quite possibly a
retelling of the opening chapter of the Bible, Genesis.