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In her analysis of Hawthorne's story in The Student Companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne, Melissa McFarland Pennell discusses the complexity of Beatrice's character.

"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 Press)



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