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Plot Summary of Rappaccini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne - Section II

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Plot Summary of Rappaccini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Summary of Rappaccini's Daughter Section II
Summary of Rappaccini's Daughter Section 3

Baglioni also tells him that Doctor Rappaccini is fascinated with vegetable and natural poisons and although the narrator states that there is a professional rivalry between Baglioni and Rappaccini, Giovanni wonders that at least Rappaccini must feel for his own daughter. Baglioni says he does not and that she herself (Beatrice) is an object of curiosity, both because of her beauty and high state of education from her father. Giovanni, still taking this in, leaves and with Beatrice in his mind, buys a bouquet of flowers to take back to his lodgings.

He returns with is flowers and sits, admiring the garden at his window before suddenly seeing Beatrice come out, looking radiant and he thinks again of the “analogy between the beautiful girl and the gorgeous shrub” that is in the middle of the strange garden. He watches as she approaches the strange purple flower bush and hears as she calls it “sister” as she tends to it. He also spots a small lizard that approaches Beatrice and a bit of moisture from the flower falls upon it and the lizard convulses and dies. He wonders if his imagination is betraying him and as he does so, he sees an insect that comes toward Beatrice as if attracted to her but upon coming near her, it too suddenly dies. Without knowing what he is doing, Giovanni suddenly throws the bouquet of flowers down to her in a greeting, asking her to wear one of the flowers but as she leaves and the bouquet remains, it begins to wilt and die almost immediately.



For the next several days, Giovanni tries to avoid the window and realizes that if he were wise, he would leave the lodgings, especially since his toss of the flowers opened a line of communication between the two. He is nonetheless unable to think of anything but Beatrice and one afternoon encounters Baglioni again on the streets and as Giovanni tries to avoid a conversation, the infamous dark Doctor Rappaccini comes along the sidewalk toward them and he gives Giovanni a strange cold glance. Baglioni insists that he must have scientific plans for him but Giovanni leaves him there, wondering what to do next and somehow understands that Rappaccini’s daughter is the cause for Giovanni’s distracted state.

As Giovanni returns home, his servant, Dame Lisabetta, shows him a secret entrance to the garden. He wanders in, not caring if Beatrice is an “angel or a demon” and admires the strange plants before happening upon Beatrice. He is completely taken with her and although he hints at what odd sights he saw, he does not address them directly and instead the two engage in flirtation. As they talk, Beatrice suddenly remembers to tend to the purple flower. They move near it but as Giovanni goes to touch it, she stops him, telling him it is fatal. He backs away and suddenly notices that Doctor Rappaccini is watching them but he doesn’t know for how long it had been. He returns to his chambers and is unable to think of anything but Rappaccini’s daughter.