'Tis Pity She's a Whore

by

John Ford

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Swords and daggers Symbol Analysis

Swords and daggers Symbol Icon

Throughout the play, swords and daggers are used by various characters to win vengeance, particularly by the men (the only woman who tries to seek vengeance, Hippolita, uses poison instead). Because swords were often used in this literary period as a euphemism for the penis, swords and daggers become linked to manhood and masculine desire, and therefore also create a symbolic link between desire and violence.

Indeed, this method of killing only appears in the play as a consequence of lust. First, Grimaldi goes after Soranzo with a dagger because he is jealous that Soranzo has won Annabella. Soranzo threatens Annabella with a sword because she has been unfaithful to him. At the end of the play, Giovanni kills Annabella with a dagger, having killed her in fulfillment of their earlier vow to love each other or kill each other. Lastly, Giovanni stabs Soranzo because he tortured Annabella, and Vasquez stabs Giovanni in return because he committed incest and cuckolded Soranzo. Thus, swords and daggers inextricably tie lust and bloodlust together in a symbolically male package, and remind readers that carnal desires—for vengeance or sex—ultimately lead to destruction.

Swords and daggers Quotes in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore

The 'Tis Pity She's a Whore quotes below all refer to the symbol of Swords and daggers. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Publishers edition of 'Tis Pity She's a Whore published in 2014.
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

On my knees,
Brother, even by our mother’s dust I charge you,
Do not betray me to your mirth or hate:
Love me, or kill me, brother.

Related Characters: Annabella (speaker), Giovanni
Related Symbols: Swords and daggers
Page Number: 1.2.247-250
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 6 Quotes

There stands these wretched things,
Who have dreamt out whole years in lawless sheets
And secret incests, cursing one another.
Then you will wish each kiss your brother gave
Had been a dagger’s point.

Related Characters: Friar (speaker), Giovanni, Annabella
Related Symbols: Swords and daggers
Page Number: 3.6.24-30
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 7 Quotes

Now guide my hand, some angry Justice,
Home to his bosom.

Related Characters: Grimaldi (speaker), Soranzo, Bergetto
Related Symbols: Swords and daggers
Page Number: 3.7.6-7
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 5, Scene 5 Quotes

ANNABELLA: What means this?
GIOVANNI: To save thy fame, and kill thee in a kiss.
Stabs her [as they kiss].
Thus die, and die by me, and by my hand.
Revenge is mine, honour doth love command.

Related Characters: Giovanni (speaker), Annabella
Related Symbols: Swords and daggers
Page Number: 5.5.84-87
Explanation and Analysis:
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Swords and daggers Symbol Timeline in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore

The timeline below shows where the symbol Swords and daggers appears in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 2
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
...second scene opens on Grimaldi and Vasquez in front of Florio’s house. Vasquez has his sword drawn, challenging Grimaldi to fight him. Grimaldi taunts Vasquez, saying that Vasquez is unequal to... (full context)
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
...even a gentle person angry. Florio tells him to be quiet and put away his sword, and that he would not want anyone’s blood to be spilt over the love of... (full context)
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Desire vs. Duty Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
Giovanni offers Annabella his dagger and asks her to stab him to see what is in his heart. She asks... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 6
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Religious Piety vs. False Idols Theme Icon
Female Sexuality vs. Social Expectation Theme Icon
...of Hell and goes on to say that she would rather that Giovanni’s kisses were daggers than go to Hell. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 7
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Injustice Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Grimaldi is still on watch with his sword drawn, waiting for Soranzo. However, it is Bergetto and Philotis, disguised, who pass him next,... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Soranzo enters with his clothes unfastened, his sword drawn, and dragging Annabella behind him. He has discovered that she is pregnant and calls... (full context)
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Religious Piety vs. False Idols 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... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Religious Piety vs. False Idols Theme Icon
Giovanni asks for one more kiss and draws a dagger. As they kiss, he stabs Annabella to save her reputation, saying “revenge is mine.” With... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 6
Passion, Lust, and Bloodlust Theme Icon
Religious Piety vs. False Idols Theme Icon
...realizes Giovanni’s absence and asks where he is. Giovanni enters with a heart on his dagger. Giovanni tells them that the heart on his dagger is Annabella’s. (full context)