To see what effect this might have, imagine that you are Beatrice. Since you have no one to talk to, you record your thoughts in a diary. Write the diary entries that describe your meeting with Giovanni and the way you feel as you continue to see him. What are your hopes for the future?
Compare what you have written to the story by Hawthorne. Has your view of Beatrice changed? Do you see Giovanni or Beatrice's father differently than you did before? How does point of view influence your perceptions?
2. Imagine yourself a detective in 16th century Padua. You have learned of the death of Beatrice Rappaccini, and heard that a family servant claims she died from unnatural causes. You have been asked to investigate whether a crime has occurred, and if so, to identify the perpetrator. You have three possible suspects to interrogate: Giovanni Guasconti, Giacomo Rappaccini, and Pietro Baglioni. To complete your investigation you must do the following:
a. write a list of questions that you will ask each suspect;
b. use the text
of the story to find answers to your questions
c. based on your interrogation, determine whether you will charge a suspect
with murder and write a list of reasons for your decision
3. As many of the images featured in this section suggest, the figures of Beatrice
from Dante's Divine Comedy (Purgatorio) and of Beatrice Cenci informed the characterization
of Beatrice Rappaccini in Hawthorne's story. Like many other nineteenth-century
artists and writers, Hawthorne was attracted to the image of woman as a redemptive
figure who transforms another through love (Dante's Beatrice). He was also fascinated
by ideas about woman as a mixed being who represented both innocence and danger
(Beatrice Cenci). Read material on the two Beatrices from the web sites "Dante's
'love' for Beatrice" and "Screaming
in the Castle" . How has Hawthorne drawn upon these two figures to shape
Beatrice Rappaccini? What important differences exist between Hawthorne's character
and her predecessors?
4. This learning activity was submitted by Donna Reiss, Professor of English
at Tidewater Community College, Virginia Beach, VA.
Two of Nathaniel Hawthorne's best-known short stories are excellent companions
to a reading of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: "The
Birthmark" and "Rappaccini's
Daughter." Like Frankenstein, they dramatize the impact of science and technology
on human behavior and relationships. Although set in the nineteenth century,
these works provoke our thinking about similar issues in the current century
and help set the stage for an exploration of these issues throughout the twentieth
century. This Explore activity focuses on "Rappaccini's Daughter," but the topics
are also relevant for "The Birthmark."
As you read "Rappaccini's Daughter," consider the list of ideas and topics
below that are also related to Frankenstein. I recommend that you review the
Project Guidelines for suggestions such as the following:
Ethics and science (responsibility of scientists)
Relationship between creator/inventor and creations/inventions
Educational approaches and curricula
Relationships among families and friends
Impact of obsessions on self and others
· The Literature section of the Hawthorne in Salem Website has several topics
that you can relate to your reading of "Rappaccini's Daughter." Even when the
sources do not refer specifically to that story, sometimes the authors of the
online articles discuss other Hawthorne works in ways that you can recognize
as similar to "Rappaccini's Daughter." In particular, the sections titled "Women
in Hawthorne" and "Alienation"
might be of interest.
· In addition, the Explore section links to some graphical and resources and
other commentary that might interest you. Ideas of good and evil, for example,
are emphasized in the Faith
and Religion section.