Period 2 In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter” the characters discover secrets, experience emotional awakenings, and create their own conflicts; these occurrences help the readers point out literary devices, such as archetypes and imagery, to expose the true nature of humans and illustrate the consequential choices that lead to character development. The true nature and ambitions of Rappaccini, Bagnoli, and Giovanni are revealed by their conscious decisions to manipulate their surroundings to fit their perceptions of reality, or their “world.” Literary devices such as archetypes are used in “Rappaccini’s Daughter” to focus on a world-text connection that Rappaccini, Beatrice, and Giovanni have very similar personas like those in “The Garden of Eden,” in order to explain how the personal thoughts of those listed change our views on their significance.
The conflicts of those listed above experience prove Carl G. Jung’s criticism on the Collective Unconscious is true; according to him, emotions control conscious decisions rather than referring back to their personal experiences and that any figures in narratives seem to act upon their impulses rather than common sense. Because the male characters in “Rappaccini’s Daughter” only have selfish ambitions when seeking more information about science, they begin to embody negative characteristics and create more complex problems for themselves. Rappaccini’s inhumane method to use his daughter as an experimental subject has us questioning the sanity and degree of ill ambition of mankind, especially when science is involved. The unconscious decisions that are controlled by emotions become conscious once the characters thoroughly plan their motives, therefore producing evil ambitions that do lead to negative character development and cynical character analysis. As has been noted that Rappaccini, Bagnoli, and Giovanni’s lack of self-control to pursue knowledge in science and fulfill their desires, lead them to take drastic measures to do so; those motivations eventually reveal their real personalities. With Rappaccini’s continuous scientific research through his creation of poisonous plants and daughter, he has over stepped the boundary between science and nature, or god and science to temporarily satisfy his crave for more knowledge in that field. Whereas Giovanni struggles to differentiate love from lust for Beatrice, who shows his incompetence to make responsible decisions as a grown man; the difference between the two men is that Rappaccini cannot understand the psychological needs of humans, only theirs mechanisms. Moreover, Giovanni does not embrace his new experience of love, but lets his curiosity of Beatrice’s’ beauty overshadow his desire for her.
Giovanni’s conscious decision to wander in the garden brought forth his ostentatious perception of the peculiar plants inside: “The water…sparkle[d] into the sunbeams as cheerfully as ever…made him feel as if a fountain wore an immortal spirit…All about the pool into which the water subsided, grew various plants, that seemed [to have] nourishment of gigantic leaves…flowers gorgeously magnificent”: as a result, the detailed imagery sets the mysterious tone and setting as if the reader is witnessing the same view with Giovanni. His interest and captivation of this garden puts aside his rationalizing ability to question how the abnormal plants came to be and of their creator. Furthermore, his ignorance of figuring out the nature of things around him makes him a more relatable character because ignorance is a common quality all humans share. That kind of innocence prevents less harsh criticisms of his character because he is in touch more with his humanity and characteristics that make him.
For the most part, literary devices help explain the emotions, thoughts, and actions the characters go through to make the readers comprehend their significance to the characters development; according to Carl G. Jung,…