'Tis Pity She's a Whore

by

John Ford

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'Tis Pity She's a Whore: Act 2, Scene 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Richardetto (who is still disguised as a doctor) and Philotis enter. Richardetto laments to his niece that his good fortune has turned to disgrace because his disguise necessitates that he be silent about his true identity. Richardetto explains that his wife thinks him dead because he traveled to Leghorn and spread the rumor of his own death.
Though he does not identify himself explicitly, the details of Richardetto’s journey and arrival match up with Hippolita’s story about her dead husband, thus revealing that he is not dead after all. Similar to Vasquez, Richardetto’s self-restraint is an asset, as he survives where most characters do not.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Richardetto goes on to explain how he wants to find out how extensive and shameful his wife’s (Hippolita’s) adultery will become following his death. Philotis worries that Richardetto means to get revenge, and Richardetto mildly assures her that she won’t know anything of his schemes.
Another of the few characters who survive the play’s calamitous ending, Philotis, chimes in with her own form of restraint, hoping and counselling Richardetto not to seek revenge. The fact that Richardetto keeps her in the dark ultimately dooms her chances at love when his plans lead inadvertently to her fiancés death.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Richardetto asks Philotis if she knows whether the marriage plans between Annabella and Soranzo have progressed. She tells him that Florio intends to give his daughter to Soranzo, but that Annabella doesn’t seem to have affection for any of her suitors.
Even though Florio has promised to allow Annabella to choose her husband, his clear favorite in Soranzo and his eventual decision to have her wed him reveals the claim to be disingenuous, and demonstrates the expectation that women should allow such choices to be made for them regardless of their own desires.
Themes
Desire vs. Duty Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
At that moment, Grimaldi enters. He tells Richardetto that he has heard of his skill and asks to speak with him in private. Philotis exits. Grimaldi describes how he loves Annabella and asks whether there is a love potion that can make her fall in love with him. Richardetto expresses his doubts.
Grimaldi enters looking for a means of winning Annabella’s love, but his lustful passion is quickly taken advantage of by the more even-tempered and deceptive Richardetto.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
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Richardetto says that, out of duty towards the Cardinal (who is very close with Grimaldi), he must admit that there is an obstacle between him and Annabella. He tells Grimaldi that Soranzo has Annabella’s heart, and states that he will help Grimaldi. He will find out the time that Soranzo and Annabella are meant to meet and will inform Grimaldi, as well as provide him with a poisoned dagger in order to kill Soranzo. He says in an aside that in this way he will get revenge on Soranzo, who cuckolded him.
Richardetto quickly transforms Grimaldi’s lust for Annabella into bloodlust for Soranzo, which is made explicit by the fact that Richardetto gives him a dagger. Richardetto, on the other hand, uses logic and manipulation to achieve his means of revenge. Whereas an excess of passion leads to the downfall of some characters, thoughtfulness (even immoral thoughtfulness) leads to the success of others.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon