'Tis Pity She's a Whore

by

John Ford

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'Tis Pity She's a Whore: Act 2, Scene 1 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Some time later, Giovanni and Annabella reenter from their bedchamber. He tells her not to blush with modesty, but instead to be proud to know that in giving up her virginity, she has conquered his heart. She tells him that she would have blushed with modesty if anyone except him had won her.
The lustful nature of Giovanni and Annabella’s love has now been revealed—and consummated. Annabella’s response here shows that she has fully given up her modesty, a sin for which she will be harshly judged later.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Desire vs. Duty Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
Giovanni wonders why it is said that one “loses” one’s virginity, when nothing is actually lost and Annabella is still the same. She chides him for speaking so openly about sex, and he tells her that half the pleasure of sex is in talking about it.
Though Annabella has given up her virginity, she is still hesitant to speak about sex because of the societal restrictions that are placed on women’s sexuality. Women who behave contrary to these norms (as becomes the case for Annabella herself) are labeled “whores.” Giovanni, on the other hand, has no such restrictions on his sexual expression.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
Giovanni worries that Annabella will have to marry someone else. She swears that she will marry no one else, and that all her suitors are hateful to her in comparison to him. He says he trusts her, and then exits.
Giovanni’s worry is well-founded, as young women were expected to marry at an early age, and as Florio has implied earlier, Annabella has a duty to her father to produce an heir—a duty that is in direct conflict with her own desire.
Themes
Desire vs. Duty Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
Puttana enters, seeming already to know that Annabella has lost her virginity to Giovanni. Puttana tells her not to be ashamed that they are siblings, because Giovanni is a man, and if a young woman feels sexual desire, she should be able to have anyone.
Puttana presents a much more progressive view on women’s sexuality. Not only does she encourage Annabella’s having sex before marriage, she also encourages her and Giovanni’s relationship. Both women are eventually punished harshly for breaking with societal norms in this way.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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Florio calls from outside, and Annabella pretends to be working at her needlework. He commends her on her diligence as he enters with Richardetto (disguised as a doctor) and Philotis. He says that he has called the doctor because he knows that she has been sick lately. Annabella welcomes him.
Florio again proves himself to be a devoted father, and Annabella shows her attempts to remain a dutiful daughter to him. This moment shows a fitting sliver of their relationship: though Annabella is lying about working, she demonstrates a wish to be obedient.
Themes
Desire vs. Duty Theme Icon
Richardetto explains that many people have spoken of Annabella’s virtue and beauty, and that he has brought his niece Philotis to play music for her. Florio welcomes the two of them to the house, and comments that his daughter has not quite forgotten how “to touch an instrument” and that she used to be able to play music (unwittingly making a pun on Annabella’s sexual activity).
Richardetto’s description of Annabella shows how, similarly to Giovanni, her passions lead to the ruining of her reputation. Unlike Giovanni, however, she becomes a victim of even harsher expectations as any sexual activity is impermissible for an unmarried woman.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon