'Tis Pity She's a Whore

by

John Ford

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'Tis Pity She's a Whore: Act 1, Scene 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Florio and Donado enter. Florio tells Donado that he will not force Annabella to marry someone against her will. He reasons that he only has two children, and that because Giovanni seems so devoted to his studies, Florio doubts he is healthy. Thus, his hopes for an heir rests on his daughter. Because he is so wealthy he is able to allow Annabella to marry whoever she chooses, rather than having to marry for wealth. Florio says that if Annabella likes Donado’s nephew, Bergetto, he is welcome to marry her. Donado thanks Florio for giving his nephew a chance. Florio exits.
Unlike what was normal at the time, Florio allows Annabella to choose a husband for herself, giving her more agency in how she expresses her sexuality. However, her increased agency is somewhat tarnished by the fact that she falls in love with her brother. Donado, for his part, represents the old school of thinking: that love is secondary to wealth. As Puttana implied with her “golden calf” reference earlier, Donado had hoped that his and Bergetto’s wealth would be idolized above all else.
Themes
Religious Piety vs. False Idols Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
Donado worries that Bergetto is such a dunce that he won’t be able to woo Annabella, and says that he’ll have to teach Bergetto how to do so. At that moment, Bergetto and Poggio enter. Bergetto says that that he has heard the strangest news from his barber about a man who has come to town that plans to make a mill only with sandbags, and that the man also has a strange horse whose head is situated just behind its tail. He and Poggio are going to see the horse. Donado comments how idiotic Bergetto is, making himself a laughing stock to the world.
Bergetto’s idiocy provides the comic relief, but he also demonstrates an important opposition between desire and duty. Even though he seems to have no wish to marry Annabella, he has a duty to his uncle to continue to woo her. He is portrayed as an innocent fool, but even so he later becomes the first casualty of the play, demonstrating the cruelty and injustice of the society.
Themes
Desire vs. Duty Theme Icon
Injustice Theme Icon
Bergetto says that he spoke with Annabella and made her laugh heartily. Donado asks what he said, and Poggio explains that Bergetto said he loved Annabella almost as much as Parmesan, and also that she should want to have his nose because his was as pretty as any young woman’s in Parma. Bergetto goes on to say that she asked whether he would inherit his uncle’s wealth, by which Donado is encouraged. Bergetto says that he responded of course because he is Donado’s favorite child and he will not be cheated of his money. At this Annabella smiled and went away.
Bergetto once more reveals his simple-mindedness, but Donado is heartened by Annabella’s question about his wealth. He believes that her inquiry shows that she values money, though to the audience (who was privy to her conversation with Puttana) it is clearer that she thinks this is unimportant and that Bergetto is an idiot.
Themes
Religious Piety vs. False Idols Theme Icon
Donado shakes his head at Bergetto’s hopelessness and resolves that the three of them should return home so that Donado can write a letter to Annabella on Bergetto’s behalf, enclosing a “rich jewel” in the letter as well. Then Donado, Bergetto, and Poggio exit.
Donado continues to behave in a way that is consistent with his desire to make Bergetto a “golden calf” when he gives Annabella this ring as a token, hoping that he can make her idolize Bergetto’s wealth.
Themes
Religious Piety vs. False Idols Theme Icon
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