"Rappaccini's Daughter" analysis of Beatrice Character
Critically Analyse the Character of Beatrice in the story "Rappaccini's Daughter"
Literally speaking, Beatrice means "one who makes happy" but in this story we find it paradoxical and rather ironical too. In the first place, she is the most beautiful girl in the whole of Padua. The youth of Padua would spend their entire age for just a glimpse of her. She is wondrous and captivates every eye cast towards her. This magical effect of her beauty enslaves the heart of Giovanni that came from the South of Italy to study medicine. As far as Beatrice' physical charms and her spotless character are concerned, she demands respect and awe. Her personality, just like her name, seems to please and make everybody happy that comes in contact with her. So this would do for the first part of the paradox relating to the name of Beatrice.
But the problem about Beatrice arises when the poisonous nature of Beatrice's painful existence is revealed and we are informed that she has been fed on poison by her father Dr. Rappaccini. She is considered a "terrible" and "ugly" creature in her being because of the poisonous and deadly effects she has been brought up with. Her breath is sufficient to kill any living being and we do observe an insect passing by her and as soon as it comes near her, it dies and falls on the ground.
Her father has he has fed her on poison. Now poison is her life. To her father, she is another flower "the human sister of those vegetable ones" which her father has grown with extremely poisonous effects. With her innocent nature, she happens to come in contact with Giovanni. She has desperate and innocent love for Giovanni but unfortunately, he has earthly love for her. He is as earthly as any other human, so Beatrice's poison begins to show its effects on Giovanni's body, comes to know the reality of Beatrice blames her and calls her "ugly" and selfish.
The allegations of Giovanni torture the innocent and pure soul of Beatrice. She cries: "though my body be fed on poison, my soul is God's creature and needs love as its daily food". She reveals that she is as human as Giovanni and she came in contact with him for she needed company and society. She yearned for human society like all other normal girls. But her father has made her abnormal as well as special of a very particular kind. Unable to bear the harshness of her love, she risks her life by taking the medicine which is antidote to the very poison that is her life; she, in fact, sacrifices her life for her love to prove that she is the best human poisoned by the evil of her own father and killed by the evil of her lover.