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Rappaccinis Daughter Untold Truths Allegories symbolism fantasy the theme of faith the theme of science the presence of humanity and conceivably the unforgivable sin Given all of these characteristics a reader may very well perceive this story not only Nathaniel Hawthornes greatest work but his most problematic as well The meaning of this classic tale has been disputed among the greatest of critics The story has been interpreted as pro-Transcendental and anti-Transcendental Stallman 1 Beatrice has been viewed as an angel and a lethal siren Giovanni has been deemed a Puritan and an artistic figure Baglioni has been seen as a weak Christ figure and Rappaccini has been characterized as both God and Satan To illuminate one of Hawthornes short stories an investigation of Rappaccinis Daughter will pin down the implications of well-known mythology and how Hawthorne uses such tales to illustrate women not as the only reason for the fall of grace in the eyes of the Gods but as pure al lies in humankinds ethereal undoing First of all the protagonist is Signor Giovanni Guasconti a young man who has come to Padua Italy to study at the university there He was nonetheless transported from his home He came very long ago from the more southern region of Italy Hawthorne 621 Hawthorne begins the story by associating Giovanni to the mythical hero Perseus who was forced to leave his homeland to conquer Medusa a snake-haired maiden who turned all who saw her into stone Hunter Moreover Giovanni shares the characteristics of Hercules of Tanglewood Tales who goes in search of the mythical garden Hesperides The mythical garden of wonders that is home to beautiful nymphs and magical plants McNeill 4 Giovanni is likened to a Greek hero again when Beatrice looks upon him as having a rather Grecian than Italian head Hawthorne 627 One of the next characters introduced to the reader in the story is Pietro Baglioni
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