In her analysis of Hawthorne's story in The Student Companion to Nathaniel
Hawthorne, Melissa McFarland Pennell discusses the complexity of Beatrice's
"The most complex character of the story, Beatrice has within her
poison-tainted body a pure heart, an irony that builds tension in the story.
She displays a depth of feeling that contrasts with Giovanni's shallowness.
The only character to act out of genuine love for another, Beatrice suffers
for other's hard-hearted behavior. She has no freedom to define herself and
is subject to the barriers her father has placed around her. She also suffers
from a lack of human contact, as the intensity of her conversations with Giovanni
reveals. The inability to receive and show affection through touch has magnified
her loneliness. Her character also reflects the dualism associated with female
nature in a patriarchal culture in that she is simultaneously beautiful and
pure while being a source of danger and entrapment" (61). (courtesy of Greenwood