Rappaccini’s Daughter Summary
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At the beginning of the short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Rappaccini’s Daughter” the reader is introduced to the young man, the central character, Giovanni Guasconti ,who is living in a dreary room in an old palace that once held a resident who had been “pictured by Dante as a partaker of the immortal agonies of the Inferno.” This dim setting looks out onto a beautiful garden that Guasconti’s servant Lisabetta tells him is cultivated by Signor Giacomo Rappaccini, who is a famous doctor of ill repute and a man whom outsiders suspect dabbles in dark sciences.
At this point in the plot summary of “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, which is the same day, Giovanni goes brings a letter of introduction to a professor of medicine at the university named Signore Pietro Baglioni. The two chat over dinner and wine and Giovanni inquires about Doctor Rappaccini, only to find that Baglioni and others in the profession have “certain grave objections to his professional character” and that he has little concern for the subjects of his stody and would “sacrifice human life, his own among the rest, or whatever else was dearest to him, for the sake of adding so much as a grain of mustard-seed to the great heap of his accumulated knowledge.”