Giovanni Guasconti travels to Padua to further his studies. He is moved into his chamber in a mansion and looks out of a balcony in is room.
As he looks out of the window he sees a garden. In that garden he sees a man in which he does not know. The man is observing a mysterious yet beautiful plant. The man paid no mind to the other plants but he put on a mask as he got closer to the puple plant
He then calls over what Giovanni believes his his daughter. Giovanni notices that while the man was reluctant to touch the plant, his daughter loves and caressed it. He believes that she is just as beautiful as the purple flower.
The next day Giovanni meets with Pietro Baglioni, the man in which he will study under, and asks about the man he saw in the garden the previous day. Baglioni tells Giovanni about Dr. Rappacini. While Giovanni asks about Dr. Rappacini, he is more interested with his daughter. Baglioni tells Giovanni that the maiden he saw in the garden was Rappacini's daughter, Beatrice.
Giovanni then goes home and throws Beatrice the bouquet of flowers he bought for her, but them he notices something....
He sees Beatrice pluck one of the pedals of the purple flower and a few drops of liquid falls on a passing lizard, instantly killing it. She then fastens a pedal to her bosom. He also notice her breathe on an insect who then dies. As Beatrice leaves he can see the flowers he got her begin to whither.