'Tis Pity She's a Whore

by

John Ford

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on 'Tis Pity She's a Whore can help.

'Tis Pity She's a Whore: Act 4, Scene 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Soranzo enters with his clothes unfastened, his sword drawn, and dragging Annabella behind him. He has discovered that she is pregnant and calls her an adulterous whore. He is enraged that he is about to become a father to a bastard.
At the top of this scene, Soranzo’s discovery of Annabella’s sinful pregnancy has transfigured his lust to bloodlust, signaled both literally and figuratively by the fact that he has drawn his sword.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Annabella argues that Soranzo pursued her, and that she denied him many times. She tells him that if he would be patient, she could perhaps come to love him.
Annabella’s response to Soranzo highlights the difficulty of her past position, caught between the expectation of marrying to hide her pregnancy and not wanting to do wrong by her future husband.
Themes
Desire vs. Duty Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
Soranzo remains unmoved and continues to call Annabella a whore. He demands to know by whom she is pregnant. She says only that he was like a glorious angel, and that any woman would have fallen for him.
Soranzo’s hypocrisy is highlighted here, as he judges Annabella for a sin that he committed as well. Annabella, for her own part, also reveals that she still bears love for her brother in her description of him and in her refusal to betray him.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
Soranzo threatens Annabella violently, saying that if she does not reveal the man’s name he will rip up her heart and tear into her with his teeth. He drags her across the floor, but she only sings in Italian that it is a sweet death to die for love. He points his sword at her and asks if Florio knows. She swears that he does not. Soranzo asks a final time if she will confess and spare her own life.
Soranzo’s violence reaches its peak here. A far cry from his monologue about his love for Annabella, he has become completely ruled by his bloodlust and his feelings of betrayal, to the point where he is willing to take the life of the wife with whom he had been so in love.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Get the entire 'Tis Pity She's a Whore LitChart as a printable PDF.
'Tis Pity She's a Whore PDF
At that moment, Vasquez enters and sees Soranzo pointing his sword at Annabella. He steps between the two. Vasquez argues that it would be “unmanlike” to kill her because she is his wife, and that any sins she committed before she was married to Soranzo were not against him. He asks Soranzo to control himself and not to be ruled by fury.
Vasquez again provides a counterpoint to the characters in the play that are ruled by lust and passion. He shows Soranzo why he should not kill Annabella, only to turn around later and try to find out who had done Soranzo this injustice. Thus, he is characterized by a cool-headed, scheming nature in a way that the other characters are not.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Soranzo affirms that Annabella should not live. Vasquez argues again that it is an unfair demand to ask Annabella to confess the “authors of her present misfortunes.” Annabella tells Vasquez not to pity her, and that if Soranzo needs to kill her, he should. Vasquez says that Annabella’s other suitors would be enraged if they heard Soranzo had killed her, and reasons that is godlike to forgive.
Vasquez continues to demonstrate his even temper, even pretending to side with Annabella so that he might later find out who has wronged Soranzo.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Injustice Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
Soranzo cries out that he really did love Annabella, and if she had been virtuous, he would not have wanted to live with anyone else. He says that instead she has buried him alive with a “lewd womb.” He continues by saying that whomever has disgraced her might have lusted after her, but Soranzo truly loved her.
Part of the tragedy of the play lies in the fact that Soranzo truly loved Annabella, and they would have been well-suited for each other if not for Annabella’s and Giovanni’s ill-fated passions. 
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Annabella is taken aback by these words, admitting that they wound deeper than his sword. Soranzo puts his sword away and apologizes. He says he will not forget that he is her husband, and that in that title is divinity, and forgives her for her faults. Annabella kneels for forgiveness, but Soranzo stops her, saying that she does not need to kneel. He tells her to go to her chamber and that he will come to her soon. She exits.
Soranzo is swayed by Vasquez, and restrains himself from committing any acts of violence. He refers back to what Vasquez said about forgiveness being godlike and says that men in marriage carry divinity, another double standard against women.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Religious Piety vs. False Idols Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Soranzo turns to Vasquez, saying that he is hungry for revenge and will eventually make Annabella tell him who got her pregnant. Vasquez tells him that being gentle with her may prove more successful, and Vasquez will in the meantime try to find out in other ways. Soranzo is assuaged by this and exits.
Soranzo reveals his aim to be more like that of Vasquez, whose level-headedness allows him to find out information and use it to his advantage, as is shown shortly after this exchange. Soranzo soon attempts to deal with Annabella gently, and has Vasquez do his bidding in order to eventually exact his revenge.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Vasquez tells the audience that he had suspected that there would be issues a while ago, and that he also remembers the proverb that when the wife rules the husband there are usually domestic issues. He worries that Annabella seems already quite late in her pregnancy, and it will be difficult to conceal the truth.
Vasquez reveals another prejudice against women in the society: that they cannot be dominant, or else they ruin marriages. What is ironic is that Annabella is not dominant in either relationship: she waits for both Giovanni and Soranzo to take the lead. She follows her desire, but only when it is permitted by a man.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Desire vs. Duty Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
While Vasquez muses on how to find out who impregnated Annabella, Puttana enters, crying. Vasquez sympathizes with her that Soranzo can be furious and demanding. He admits that Soranzo could almost kill Annabella with unkindness. He says it is not Annabella’s fault that she is with child, and Puttana concurs that it was certainly against Annabella’s will.
Vasquez continues to use his cunning to deal with Puttana and find out information from her, without using violence or threats. Instead, he uses manipulative arguments to coax Puttana, putting forth arguments about female sexuality and responsibility that he clearly does not believe himself, but is merely saying to win her over.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
Vasquez tells Puttana that all Soranzo wants is to find out who did it, and then he wouldn’t be angry anymore—as long as he didn’t find out by having to force Annabella to confess. Vasquez continues by saying that it would be terrible if she revealed Annabella’s lover, but it would relieve Annabella’s discomfort, pacify Soranzo, and gain Putanna love. Puttana asks Vasquez if he will protect her if she confesses. He assures her that he will. She admits that it was Giovanni.
Vasquez’s clever maneuvering results in Puttana giving up Giovanni, and he is rewarded for his tact in finding out this information. What seems particularly cruel is the fact that he plays on Puttana’s sense of responsibility towards Annabella. She is bound to serve Annabella and protect her, but Vasquez argues that she would protect her more by revealing Giovanni. It is another catch-22 born out of society’s harsh moralism.
Themes
Desire vs. Duty Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
As soon as Puttana says Giovanni’s name, Vasquez calls on the Banditti (a gang of Italian outlaws and robbers). He tells them to gag Puttana and to put out her eyes. They seize Puttana. He tells them that if she screams, they should slit her nose. The Banditti exit with Puttana.
As soon as Puttana gives Vasquez the information he wants, he gives her over to the Banditti. This group of mobsters carries out the cruelest form of justice, punishing Puttana harshly for a crime that she did not commit.
Themes
Injustice Theme Icon
Vasquez is overjoyed at having found out this information, and that it is so damning. He starts to leave to tell Soranzo, but Giovanni enters, looking for Annabella. Vasquez tells him that she is in her chamber and that she has become sick. Giovanni states that he thinks she ate too much meat (with a pun on having too much sex), and Vasquez affirms his diagnosis. Giovanni goes to visit her.
While Vasquez has used his cunning to find out the information he wants, Giovanni is still motivated by his passions, as he reveals later when he explains that he is still kissing and making love to her even after she has married. His pun on Annabella having too much sex is shown to be apt, as this infidelity and sin on both their parts becomes their downfall.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Soranzo enters after Giovanni leaves. Soranzo tells Vasquez that he dealt with Annabella gently. Vasquez asks for privacy in order to tell him what he has found out. He adds to let Giovanni take his time in Annabella’s bedchamber and leave freely, as he has sinned so greatly that he is essentially sold to death. Soranzo and Vasquez exit together.
Again, Ford divides the characters into those ruled by passion and those that are not. Soranzo attempts to control himself in order to get revenge, but his emotions eventually get the better of him, unlike Vasquez. Giovanni, however, is completely consumed by his desire.
Themes
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Desire vs. Duty Theme Icon