"Rappaccini's Daughter" as a Fantasy

Critically Analyse the elements of Fantasy in the story "Rappaccini's Daughter"

Referring to Martin Grey's definition of fantasy it may well be stated that though fantasy "is originally applied generally to the mind's perceptual and imaginative processes...fantasy literature deals with the imaginary worlds of fairies, dwarves, giants and other non realistic phenomena". Relating and testing the above features of fantasy in the story "Rappaccini's Daughter", we find it quite fantastic. In short, it is an imaginative story about strange things, personalities, happenings and ideas.

Imaginary Worlds of non-realistic phenomena: In the first instance, the strange and the imaginative beauty of the palace is quite vivid. Its garden and the "magnificent flowers "belonging to it "had the richness of a jewel". T he flowers emit such a fragrance which is "poisonous" and deadly. These plants shine in the night like do the gems. The bright shining flowers overshadow and replace the ordinary light. The flowers are odd. The garden is filled with strange fragrance that seems ominous.

Secondly, the beautiful daughter of Rappaccini is no less than a wonder and "non-realistic". She is "another flower, the human sister of those vegetable ones". She has angel like beauty. She is even "more beautiful than the richest of" flowers hanging in the botanic garden of her father. It is quite fantastic that though Beatrice is a living poison, yet she is innocent "human, gentle and maidenly, worthy to be worshipped". She touches the natural flowers sent by Giovanni and the "flowers wither away" at once.

The events of the story especially the poisonous effects of the youthful maiden as well as the love affair ending upon the death of Beatrice is no less than fantastic where a pure girl sacrifices her life by drinking the antidote of the very poison which is her life. She does it for her love and such courage is also fantastic and rare to be found in the world of us ordinary humans. So, we can say the story, "Rappaccini's Daughter", is a fantasy in the real sense of the term.