Summary and Analysis: Act 2, Scenes 3-6

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 910

Summary
Richardetto bemoans his condition to his niece Philotis, remarking on how his wanton wife, Hippolita, is committing adultery. Richardetto vows to discover this adultery, and learns from Philotis that Florio intends to have Annabella marry Soranzo. Philotis adds the comment that Annabella, however, seems indifferent to Soranzo and her other suitors. Grimaldi promptly enters and asks to speak with Richardetto privately, so Philotis leaves them. Grimaldi declares his love for Annabella and asks if Richardetto can provide him with an aphrodisiac. Richardetto tells Grimaldi he should first kill Soranzo and promises to give Grimaldi a poison that Grimaldi can put onto his sword.

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Donado begins the next scene by telling Bergetto he has written the love letter to Annabella and will deliver it to her as if it were from Bergetto. Bergetto protests his uncle’s lack of faith in him and pulls his own love letter out of his pocket. Commenting that he is not good at reading his own writing, Bergetto has Poggio read the letter. His letter bluntly informs Annabella of his intent to marry her and provokes Donado’s dismay. He tells Bergetto to just go home and stay there until Donado returns. But after Donado departs, Bergetto resolves to sneak out.

As the next scene opens, the Friar bemoans Giovanni’s steadfast love for Annabella, which, he warns Giovanni, will produce trouble. Giovanni defends his love on the grounds that a beautiful body, such as Annabella’s, goes with a virtuous mind. He theorizes that this virtue distills into love, so his relationship with his sister is proper and justifiable. The Friar tells Giovanni his logic is defenseless and goes against Christian faith. He adds that Giovanni is “sold to hell,” but should at least convince his sister to marry. Giovanni rejects this as damning Annabella by letting her have multiple lovers, and the Friar says that he will try to convince Annabella to confess. Giovanni proudly declares that Annabella will relate her love to the Friar, and he rhapsodically lists the pleasures of Annabella’s face. The Friar again asks Giovanni to leave his sinful relationship, but Giovanni maintains his resolve to love his sister as the two exit.

Annabella, Donado, Florio, and Putana enter. Annabella tells Florio of Giovanni’s visit to the Friar, and Florio hopes he will learn to gain heaven. Donado gives Annabella the letter he has written for Bergetto. Putana comments to Donado that she is managing to make Annabella dream of Bergetto in her sleep, and Donado obligingly pays her for her efforts.

Annabella reads the letter and tells Donado she will return the jewel, but Donado insists she keep it. She resists. Florio tells Annabella to send the ring mother had given her, with the instruction to give the ring to her husband.

Annabella says she gave it to Giovanni. Florio asks Annabella to give her opinion of Bergetto, and a flustered Annabella asks for the freedom to give it. Florio grants the request, and she says she will not marry him. Donado says this is fine with him and does not stop him from being friends with Florio. Bergetto and Poggio make an entrance in defiance of Donado’s instructions, and Bergetto tells Annabella he was just beaten up by a rogue in the city street. He goes on to say that Philotis helped treat him, and kissed him. Bergetto praises Philotis’ beauty, but adds that he doesn’t know her name. When Donado tells Bergetto his attempt to win Annabella has failed, he merrily says this is not important, because he can simply buy prostitutes in Parma. Donado and Bergetto say goodbye, and Poggio leaves with them as Giovanni enters.

Florio asks after Giovanni’s lonesome wanderings and praises Soranzo to Annabella before leaving. Annabella teasingly tells Giovanni that Donado gave her the jewel, and Giovanni tells her to send it back. Giovanni exits with Annabella and the act ends.

Analysis
Richardetto furthers the play’s air of plotting and secrecy. Not only must he disguise himself, but he must also remain silent as his enemies, Hippolita and Soranzo, pursue their own schemes. Philotis stands apart from this scheming and fails to become Richardetto’s accomplice, but she does contribute information about Soranzo and Annabella for him. Grimaldi, then, merely joins the merry-go-round of scheming and being schemed upon when he takes his desire to kill Soranzo to Richardetto and receives advice on how to do this from Richardetto. Yet even these two plotters doubt each other and pursue different aims in their desire to kill Soranzo.

Bergetto’s continuing crude innocence and honesty at this point seem to only provide comic relief. They contrast with the ensuing serious and logical talk between the Friar and Giovanni. Giovanni’s persistent use of logic to justify his love for Annabella continues to contrast with the Friar’s use of religion to dissuade him. Giovanni is still using his training in logic and rhetoric and seems to regard the Friar’s warnings as mere illusions. Florio, though, as the play’s primary upholder of proper moral institutions, regards the Friar as a great, holy man. Putana, however, still follows the base, deceptive desires of money and sex. Similarly, Donado uses the lure of money to try to convince Annabella to marry Bergetto. Annabella is perhaps misguided in her desires, but she does at least honestly love Giovanni, without concern for the financial consequences of this love.

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Summary and Analysis: Act 2, Scenes 1-2

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Summary and Analysis: Act 3, Scenes 1-5