'Tis Pity She's a Whore

by

John Ford

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

Summary
Analysis
Florio, Giovanni, Annabella, Puttana, Soranzo, and Vasquez are all gathered. Florio says that although there have been many suitors and many offers for Annabella, Soranzo’s hopes are still the best. He lets the two speak alone. Before Giovanni leaves, he asks Annabella not to be unfaithful, and to think of him as she speaks to Soranzo. Florio, Giovanni, Puttana, and Vasquez exit.
The opening of this scene in which Soranzo vies for Annabella’s affection demonstrates the difficulty of Annabella’s position. She is caught between her desire for Giovanni and her duty as a daughter, a sister, and an unmarried young woman in this society.
Themes
Desire vs. Duty Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
Annabella asks what Soranzo wants. He says it must be obvious that he loves her. He asks her if she believes him, and she says that she doesn’t have to believe him. Giovanni enters on the balcony above to listen in.
Giovanni’s wanting to check in on Annabella reflects the society’s general mistrust of women, even though she is merely doing Soranzo a courtesy and acting as her father expects.
Themes
Desire vs. Duty Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
Soranzo is taken aback by Annabella’s bluntness and asks her if she cannot love. She says she cannot love Soranzo. Soranzo begins a series of metaphors explaining his love for her, which she wittily rebuts. Giovanni is pleased, but Soranzo believes that she is mocking his love. He tells her that it is unattractive for someone of her modesty and her age.
Annabella’s bluntness, however, does not lie within those expectations, and Soranzo criticizes her for not showing the customary demureness of someone as young and as “modest” (i.e., sexually inexperienced and innocent) as she is. Of course, this is a bit ironic, as Annabella is not nearly as modest as Soranzo might think.
Themes
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Annabella tells Soranzo plainly that if she loved him, she would be nicer to him. She says that she does not want him to hope falsely for her love, and so he should cease trying to win her. She tries to comfort him in saying that if she were to marry, she would have married Soranzo, but she has no interest in doing so. Giovanni is assured that Annabella loves him. Annabella adds a final word: that if she has to marry in the future, she will marry Soranzo. He takes her promise.
Annabella rejects Soranzo with the same frankness as she rejects Bergetto. In this way, she not only fulfills the promises that she has made to Giovanni and remains true to her love for him, but she is also able to prevent any issues she would encounter in a marriage. Even if she does not yet know that she is pregnant, she understands that she has already broken a vow to any potential suitors in not remaining a virgin until her wedding.
Themes
Desire vs. Duty Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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Annabella suddenly falls ill and starts to faint, and Giovanni immediately exits the balcony to come down. Soranzo calls for help within the house. Florio, Giovanni, and Puttana enter. Giovanni takes her in his arms and asks her how she is doing. Florio tells him to take her to her bed while he calls for a doctor. All exit except Soranzo.
Annabella’s fainting provides the first glimmer that the marriage plot may not be the only issue at play here, as she is soon discovered to be pregnant. To others, Giovanni’s rescue appears to be brotherly love, but the audience understands the deeper worry behind his care. 
Themes
Desire vs. Duty Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
Vasquez enters and finds Soranzo alone. Soranzo tells him of Annabella’s refusal of his advances, and how she immediately fell ill afterward. He worries her life is in danger. Vasquez says aside that Soranzo’s life is also in danger by Hippolita. Aloud he says that perhaps it is the “maid’s-sickness,” (a form of anemia which at the time was believed to be caused by not having sex), and that marriage could provide the remedy. Vasquez asks if she has definitively denied Soranzo. Soranzo tells Vasquez that he will inform him of her words as they return home. They exit.
Though Soranzo seems to worry genuinely about Annabella, his concern is clearly born out of more selfish desires. With Vasquez’s reference to the “maid’s-sickness,” it is shown that not only do the expectations of female sexuality pervade both religion and societal customs, those expectations infiltrate even medical diagnoses. Maid’s-sickness, though it is a real illness, is used as an excuse for Annabella to marry Soranzo quickly.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Desire vs. Duty Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon