1. What causes Giovanni to sigh? Thinking about Dante's Inferno feeling a little homesick (p. 146)
2. What does Giovanni find particularly eye-catching in the garden? The shrub with the purple blooms that he compares to gems (p. 147)
3. To what are the garden and gardener compared? like someone walking among savage beasts or poisonous snakes, who would shrink from them as he passed also compared to Adam and the garden to Eden. (p. 147-148)
4. What does the gardener do when examining the plant that Giovanni noticed? wore gloves put on a mask.(p. 148)
5. What images does the voice suggest to Giovanni? tropical sunset the colors purple and crimson perfume. (p. 148)
6. What does Beatrice do that her father does not? touches the plants inhales their odors. p. 148
7. What does Giovanni dream? Of a rich flower and a beautiful girl, each of which is perilous. p. 149
8. What does Baglioni find objectionable about Rappaccini? Rappaccini values science over human life. p. 150
9. What is Rappaccini's particular interest? poisons - he thinks that they have medicinal virtues. p. 150
10. Why might Baglioni have a motivation to lie about Rappaccini? they are professional rivals. p. 150
11. What shocking incident occurs? the flower seems to kill a lizard Beatrice's breath seems to kill an insect. p. 152
12. What does Beatrice say she would like to give Giovanni in return? Why doesn't she? one of the purple flowers but she can't throw it that far. p. 153
13. What happens to the bouquet Giovanni gives to Beatrice? It withers as she walks away with it. p. 153
14. What sort of look does Rappaccini give Giovanni? A very intent look that seems to analyze him deeply. p. 154
15. What warning does Baglioni give Giovanni? Baglioni says Giovanni is probably a subject in one of Rappaccini's experiments. p. 154
16. What possibility does Giovanni consider? That Rappaccini told Lisabetta to show him the secret door to the garden. p. 155
17. What is shocking or objectionable about the flowers' appearance? They seemed "fierce, passionate, and even unnatural." Some seemed artificial, so that it was obvious that they had been "created" by man. p. 156
18. What does Beatrice ask Giovanni to do? She asks him to believe only what he sees with his own eyes, and then agrees to ask him to believe only what she says herself. p. 157
19. Why does Beatrice blush? he points out that she should ask him to only believe what she says; she seems to realize that he had probably seen her kill things with her breath. p. 157
20. What has Beatrice forgotten for the first time in her life? She has forgotten her plant. p. 158
21. What does Giovanni do that frightens Beatrice? He nearly picks one of the purple flowers. p. 158
22. What has happened to Giovanni's hand? burning and tingling turned purple where she touched it. p. 159
23. How do Giovanni and Beatrice feel about each other? They love each other. p. 160
24. What happens in the classic book Baglioni has been reading? Why does he relate this story to Giovanni? The main character was given poisons from birth so that she was immune to them but was herself poisonous. Baglioni tells Giovanni this because he thinks it’s what has happened to Beatrice. p. 160-161
25. How does Giovanni respond to Baglioni's tale? Which of his actions reveal that he believes the professor's story? He calls it childish and says he doesn’t believe it. p. 161 However, he buys flowers so he can test her. p. 163
26. What does Baglioni give to Giovanni? What is it supposed to do? He gives Giovanni a silver vial of antidote It should rid Beatrice of the poison. p. 162
27. What does Giovanni assume about Beatrice's outer and inner nature? He assumes that they are the same – that she cannot be imbued with poison unless she has a monstrous soul as well. p. 163
28. What does Giovanni realize about himself? He, too, is permeated with poison and can also kill with his breath. p. 163
29. Why is Giovanni incapable of seeing Beatrice's true nature? he is in love with her and in denial about all his doubts. p. 164
30. How did the plant come into being? What is its relation to Beatrice? Her father created it and it has been alive as long as Beatrice. It was treated as a sister to Beatrice and she loved it. p. 164
31. How does Giovanni behave toward Beatrice? He blames her for what her father has done and assumes that she enjoys being poisonous. He accuses her of luring him into her solitude and making it impossible for him to return to the outside world. p. 164-165
32. What does Beatrice say her intentions were? Does she resemble in any way the woman Giovanni has accused her of being? She only wanted to love Giovanni and spend some time with him, although she knew it couldn’t last. She is not the woman he accuses her of being – she is instead patient, kind, and lonely. p. 165
33. What does Giovanni realize? Why is it too late? that they should be kind to each other since they can never mingle with the outside world again. However, after his unkind words, she’ll never love him again. p. 166
34. Why is Beatrice shrinking from Giovanni now? She shrinks from him because he has hurt her. p. 166
35. What does Beatrice ask Giovanni? “Oh, was there not, from the first, more poison in thy nature than in mine?”
Post-Reading Worksheet Investigate, Inquire, and Imagine
1. When and in what city does the story take place? How does Giovanni Guasconti happen to be there? How does he enjoy spending his time when in his chamber? A long time ago in Padua, Italy. Giovanni is a student. In his chamber, he enjoys looking out the window at Rappaccini’s garden. p. 146, 151
2. Who is Baglioni? What is his relationship with Rappaccini? How does he warn Giovanni when they meet on the street? Baglioni is an elderly doctor, and an old friend of Giovanni’s father. p. 149-150 He knows Rappaccini professionally and is a professional rival; he also disapproves of Rappaccini’s disregard for humankind. p. 150 He warns Giovanni that he may already be a subject of Rappaccini’s experiments. p. 154- 155
3. Before Giovanni meets Beatrice, what does he see, or think he sees, that makes him fear her? After he meets her, what makes him ignore his fears until Baglioni's visit? He thinks he sees her purple plant kill a lizard with a drop, and her breath kill an insect. He also thinks the flowers he gives her wither in her hand. p. 152-153 After he meets her, his love makes him ignore his fears. p. 157
4. What things, natural and unnatural, are considered poisonous in this story? What behaviors? things: plants; behaviors: –Rappaccini’s valuing of science over human life and experimenting on his daughter; –Giovanni’s treatment of Beatrice when he realizes she is poisonous
5. Giovanni suspects that Rappaccini has arranged for him to visit the garden. Why does he think so? What might be Rappaccini's reasons for allowing a man to visit Beatrice? for choosing Giovanni to be that man? He thinks so because Lisabetta shows him the secret entrance right after he sees Rappaccini examine him in the street. Rappaccini seems to want to test his daughter’s power on a man, and perhaps chooses Giovanni because he has seen Giovanni looking out the window into the garden.
6. Could Giovanni trust Baglioni's opinion of Rappaccini? Why, or why not? At the end of the story, why does Baglioni's voice suggest triumph as well as horror? Yes - although Baglioni’s motives in discrediting Rappaccini might be motivated more by the professional rivalry they share, he is ultimately right about Rappaccini. Baglioni’s voice suggests triumph as well as horror because he is both proud to be correct and horrified at what Rappaccini has done.
7. During their first meeting in the garden, why does Beatrice hide her face and run away? Beatrice hides her face and runs away because she is ashamed to realize that not only is the plant fatal, but so is she (p. 158).
7. (cont) When G suggests that both he and Beatrice drink the antidote, why does she say, "I will drink—but do thou await the result"? She wants Giovanni to await the result because she knows the antidote will be like poison to her. She wants him to see what she gives up to prove that she loves him and doesn’t want to poison him.
7. (cont) Whose love is more real, Beatrice's for Giovanni or Giovanni's for Beatrice? Her love is more real because she is willing to sacrifice herself for his safety, whereas he is only willing to sacrifice her safety for his own.
8. Is Rappaccini evil? Is Baglioni, Beatrice, Lisabetta, or Giovanni himself? Rappaccini certainly has little respect for human life and seems to desire mere power. Lisabetta motivated by money, Baglioni motivated partly by concern for Giovanni but partly by his rivalry with Rappaccini. Giovanni is naively unable to tell the difference between a person’s character and their circumstances which causes him to be cruel to Beatrice.
8. (cont) How do you define evil? What degree of evil does each of the characters possess? All of the characters possess some amount of evil, perhaps Rappaccini is the worst because he is so uncaring of the pain caused by his actions. Giovanni at least realizes he is wrong, although it is too late.
9. In popular culture and throughout history, people have accused others of being poisonous, toxic, or a "bad influence." Name examples of such people and the ways they have influenced the world around them. Then name people or groups who have countered them.
1. Fantasy. Is "Rappaccini's Daughter" a fantasy, or do realistic elements dominate the story? Explain, using examples from the text. Fantasy: Rappaccini has bred super plants and imbued Beatrice with poison w/o killing her. Realistic: modern genetics may make super plants seem more plausible today. realistic elements are human interactions and their emotional repercussions.
2. Symbol. Consider that the lush, poisonous foliage in Rappaccini's garden might represent temptation or evil. If so, what does the fountain that flows "cheerfully" into the garden pool symbolize? The fountain, which surrounds the poisonous purple sister plant, seems to symbolize Beatrice’s pure character.
2. (cont) Does Beatrice also represent evil, or something more complex? What might Rappaccini himself symbolize? Beatrice symbolizes the difference between outward appearances and inward qualities. Rappaccini symbolizes lust for power and its consequences.
3. Allusion. How does the allusion to the Biblical story of creation demonstrate Rappaccini's pride? Rappaccini creates these poisonous plants, and in a sense, creates a new species in Beatrice. His pride leads him to believe that she will appreciate his creation as a gift, when in fact she sees it as a curse. He can’t conceive of anyone disagreeing with him.
3. (cont) What light does it throw on the nature of the evil in Rappaccini and his garden? This shows that Rappaccini’s evil is in not considering the rights of others before taking actions that will affect others.