Summary and Analysis: Act 3, Scenes 1-5

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 856

Summary
Bergetto and Poggio enter. Bergetto declares that he will have Philotis, and points out that she has given him a codpiece-point and box of marmalade as presents. An energetic Bergetto repeats his intent to have Philotis and departs.

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The group of Florio, Giovanni, Soranzo, Annabella, Putana, and Vasques enter, with Florio telling Soranzo he intends to have Annabella marry him. All but Soranzo and Annabella leave as Florio tells his daughter to tell Soranzo her feelings. Soranzo declares his love for Annabella as Giovanni enters above, on a balcony. But she says she intends “to live and die a maid,” without marrying anyone. Soranzo replies by maintaining his ardent desire and pleading with Annabella to marry him and satisfy his desire. After some humorous exchanges between them and joking by Annabella, which Soranzo does not appreciate, Annabella firmly tells Soranzo he should abandon his efforts to gain her heart. She does add that she prefers Soranzo to her other suitors, and Giovanni notes that this means she loves Giovanni. Annabella declares that if she does marry, it will be to Soranzo, and when he takes this promise, she faints. Florio and the others enter, and Florio commands for Annabella to be put in bed and given a physician.

Soranzo and Vasques remain behind as the others leave. Soranzo tells Vasques of his despair caused by Annabella’s disclosure and illness, and Vasques comforts him by suggesting Annabella could still marry him. The two leave, and Giovanni and Putana enter. She tells him Annabella is pregnant. She says this pregnancy must be kept secret. Therefore, a doctor may not see Annabella for fear that the doctor will notice the pregnancy. A perplexed Giovanni tells Putana to tell Florio that Annabella is simply ill from eating bad food, and she exits.

Florio and Richardetto appear, discussing Annabella’s case. She has told Richardetto her illness came from eating melons. Richardetto tells Florio he treated her and advises him that Annabella should be married soon in order to cure her sickness. Florio tells Richardetto he has chosen Soranzo to marry her at the cell of the Friar. Richardetto approves this decision. The Friar and Giovanni enter, and Giovanni says that the Friar has come to comfort and absolve Annabella in case she is about to die. Florio tells the Friar he means to see Annabella married before he dies and asks him to advise her to marry. The Friar agrees to this, and all exit.

Grimaldi enters and justifies his immoral plan to poison Soranzo on the grounds that all kinds of cunning are allowed in matters of love. Richardetto enters and tells Grimaldi of the planned marriage in the Friar’s cell. He adds that he has the necessary poison, gives it to Grimaldi, and revels in the vision of a dead Soranzo. Grimaldi exits and Philotis enters, followed by Bergetto and Poggio. She tells Richardetto she plans to marry Bergetto that night for fear of having Donado call off the wedding if he learns of their plans. Richardetto agrees to this plan, and declares his intent to go early to the Friar’s cell. Bergetto and Philotis kiss amorously. Richardetto cautions him to be patient and wait until “we have done what’s fit to do” before sleeping with Philotis.

Analysis
Bergetto’s basic desire and simple-minded pursuit of Philotis continue to present him as counterpoint against the play’s currents of artifice and secrecy. The negotiations for Annabella's love that involve Florio, Annabella, Soranzo, and Giovanni, show how Annabella’s choice, by contrast, is a convoluted one. Her real love is kept secret but is in danger of exposure. The stakes of her choices are much higher than the stakes of Bergetto’s choice, and this, together with her socially forbidden love for Giovanni, helps explain why she is so much more hesitant than Bergetto. Annabella seems overwhelmed by her difficult and dangerous choice between Giovanni and Soranzo, so she faints.

The news of Annabella’s pregnancy raises the stakes yet again. This pregnancy, like her love for Giovanni, must be kept secret. Richardetto, though unaware of her pregnancy, concludes that her marital situation is intimately linked with her illness. With her pregnancy, Annabella has remained at the center of much speculation and maneuvering. Giovanni’s decision to bring the Friar to Annabella may have been inspired by his own need for advice from the Friar. In any case, by fetching the Friar, he has allowed the Friar to separate Annabella from him by marrying her to Soranzo.

Grimaldi’s short monologue on the need to be low and cunning in love’s struggles neatly summarizes most of the play’s action thus far. After all, the play has centered around love and the plotting, secrecy, and deception that it inspires. The exchange between him and Richardetto also exemplifies how much of the play has pivoted on knowledge and the lack of knowledge. Richardetto has heard that Soranzo and Annabella will be married, but he does not know when. Bergetto, on the other hand, though ignorant of many things, clearly knows that he wants Philotis.

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Summary and Analysis: Act 2, Scenes 3-6

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Summary and Analysis: Act 3, Scenes 6-9