Life And Works Of Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne was a writer who both did novels as well as short stories. He was originally given the name Nathaniel Hathorne but later in life was to change it to Hawthorne adding the "w" to Hathorne, normally considered as a way by him to distance himself from the acts of his ancestors who were involved in the Salem Witch hunt trials.
Born in Salem, Massachusetts in the year 1804 Nathaniel was a descendant of William Hathorne who was a puritan and who had migrated from England and settled in Salem and John Hathorne, son to William, a judge known for his terrible sentences to those accused of being witches. (McFarland, 2004)Analyzing one of his short stories, "Rappaccini's Daughter" where we have a dark romantic story between a young man by the name of Giovanni and his love Beatrice we analyze the effects of how Hawthorne's history, upbringing and life's events have on his works.In his work Rappaccini's choice of professors to be close to Giovanni may be a representation of himself being surrounded by people of authority but who have misled people from their way. Giving Beatrice the medication which turns out to be her killer having received it from his father's friend a person he could trust, may represent the power and public trust his ancestor had over the Salem killings in addition to Giovanni being left to bear the pain of the loss of an innocent girl who was not responsible for her actions but took insults from Giovanni and betrayal from her own father.
The last bit with the pain may be the author giving reason as to why he wants to distance himself from the actions of his ancestor but at the same time wanting to validate why the killings had to happen.In my view I perceive of Beatrice's father as being symbolic of the witches involved in Salem and of Nathaniel the author himself as being a Puritan. Puritanism mainly conducted by folks from the 16th and 17th century in England and America, was a religious protestant group who believed in simpler ways of modes of worship, e.g. they were against clerical clothes or using of the cross symbol, but were strict to follow religious discipline. William Hathorne and son John were Puritans and possibly the reason as to why John was known for his harshness when it came to handling of sentences of the witches who were tried in the course of the trials due to the strict belief.
The history given of the Professor Rappaccini as being a non conventional doctor who was ready to experiment with any kind of portion and was less concerned with the welfare of the human but more concerned about the effects of his experiments depicts him more or less as being a witch. The depiction of Rappaccini as being more concerned about his work rather than the welfare of the people even those close to him makes him evil to the reader in a sense.Nathaniel though distancing himself from his families past has a strong sense of Puritanism instilled in him as he can be considered as being a critic of change, or wary of new ideas being tried out when he terms the growth of new plants by mixing two plants by Rappaccini to make one as being against nature and God when he has the argument with Beatrice.The Salem Witch trials were trials which were aimed at getting rid of the evil people in society who were believed to be conducting witchcraft related activities.
Mainly a puritan society those who were viewed as not being in line with the greater majority were hence viewed as being witches. Being a purist Nathaniel appears as being in support though indirectly of the Salem trials, speaking through Giovanni's fathers friend, Professor Baglioni, who gives Giovanni the cure which apparently was the antidote to the poison Beatrice carried in her and that he too, Giovanni, had the antidote as we get to the end we realise is death. Though Beatrice dies its clearly apparent to Giovanni that he too had to die. Baglioni in a tone of triumph and horror as well tells, Rappaccini, "Rappaccini!
Rappaccini! And is this the upshot of your experiment?" we get the notion that the author is asking the witches if they are aware of their actions as they conduct their activities. Death and miserable ness he indirectly says are the results.Nathaniel Hawthorne at a time lived and worked at the Brook farm where he was saving up to marry his future bride, Sophia who was a transcendentalist. The interaction of him with the transcendentalists influenced him to be a dark romance writer as being a pessimist and was one of the teachings as evidenced in the story with the death of Beatrice. (Galens, 2002)Giovanni was a romantic as seen when he is viewing the flower garden and admiring the beauty that surrounded him as well as the mystifying beauty and allure that was Beatrice.
Nathaniel in his relationships with women can be considered as being a flirt seeing as he was not in a hurry to marry betting with his friend Jonathan Cilley that he Cilley would get married before he did, as well as flirting publicly with two recorded women, Mary Silsbee and Elizabeth Peabody, before later flirting of course with his future bride, Sophia Peabody sister to Elizabeth. Giovanni's character puts him as a lover of nature and things beautiful bringing the idea of a flirt but when he meets Beatrice he becomes grounded no longer thinking of other things but only wanting to be with her perhaps may represent the love Nathaniel had for his wife Sophia and the love they both shared as seen by Sophia a former sick ling being of better health and the words Nathaniel said as of his wife she "is, in the strictest sense, my sole companion; and I need no other-there is no vacancy in my mind, any more than in my heart... Thank God that I suffice for her boundless heart!" (McFarland, 2004)
Article name: Life And Works Of Nathaniel Hawthorne essay, research paper, dissertation