Summary and Analysis: Act 3, Scenes 6-9

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 728

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Cardinal: The Cardinal of Parma and the Papal Nuncio.

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Summary
The Friar is in his study sitting in a chair, with Annabella kneeling and weeping before him. He gives her a lengthy, elaborate description of the torments that await her and Giovanni in hell if she fails to repent her incest. Annabella is moved to cry out, “Mercy, O Mercy,” and asks the Friar if there is a way to avoid facing such miseries. He assures her that if she marries Soranzo and ceases her relations with Giovanni she will be saved. The Friar warns that the path to repentance is not easy, but Annabella agrees to take this path. Florio and Giovanni enter and await Soranzo’s entrance. Giovanni leaves to fetch Soranzo, and Soranzo and Vasques enter. Florio joins his and Annabella’s hands, and Annabella vows to live with Soranzo. The Friar blesses the couple.

That night, Grimaldi enters with his sword drawn and ready to attack. When Bergetto, Philotis, Richardetto, and Poggio appear, and Grimaldi hears Bergetto say “sweetheart” to Philotis, he concludes that Bergetto is Soranzo. He stabs Bergetto and leaves. Bergetto cries out that he is stabbed in his guts, and Richardetto rushes to help him. Poggio leaves to raise the alarm and fetch some lights, but the badly wounded Bergetto merely continues crying out. Poggio returns with some officers and lights, and Richardetto sees that Bergetto is beyond help and nearing death. He tells the officers to pursue the murderer, and Bergetto has time to ask that Philotis be taken care of before dying. Richardetto and the others pursue the murderer.

In the next scene, Vasques tells Hippolita that Soranzo and Annabella are betrothed and due to marry in two days. Hippolita reiterates her resolve to kill Soranzo. The two declare their intent to kill Soranzo and pursue a life together as they exit.

Florio, Donado, Richardetto, Poggio, and the officers enter. Florio repeats Richardetto’s earlier focus on pursuing Bergetto’s murderer, but a weeping Richardetto is grieving over the death of the would-be husband of his niece. An officer tells Donado that they have seen Grimaldi go into the Cardinal’s estate, and the party knocks at the Cardinal’s gate. The Cardinal emerges, perturbed over this disturbance, but tells them Grimaldi did kill Bergetto the previous night. Grimaldi begs the Cardinal for leniency and tells Florio that Soranzo was the intended target. The Cardinal decides that Grimaldi will go to Rome and be given the protection of the Pope and the Church because he is a nobleman. Florio and Donado bemoan this decision and Grimaldi’s ruthlessness, and all exit.

Analysis
Annabella’s penitence scene shows her to be more easily frightened by the Friar’s warnings about the consequences of her incest than her brother. This could be because she is quicker to believe the Friar’s warnings or because she is a firmer Christian than Giovanni, and is driven by that belief to repent from her sins with Giovanni. Her immediate decision to marry Soranzo shows how strong an impression the Friar’s words have made. Grimaldi, as he waits to kill Soranzo, shows the same desire for darkness that Giovanni had earlier shown. These wishes are both literally a desire for darkness in order to keep actions secret and a symbol of the play’s concern with privacy and secrecy. Here, though, darkness and Grimaldi’s hasty judgment force him to kill the wrong man. Bergetto's death comes just before Vasques’ promise to hold Hippolita’s plot secret and help carry out that plot. So, again, characters are keeping their motives hidden, but this secrecy has now caused the death of the innocent Bergetto.

The murder of Bergetto is not resolved with justice, as the officers cannot pursue the murderer because of the privileges of the Cardinal and his church. This Cardinal shows his corruption by upbraiding Florio and the others for disrupting him rather than by sympathizing with their effort. He gives no real justification for keeping Grimaldi from justice, and indeed, criticizes Florio for not marrying Annabella to him. This corruption seems to dwell not just in the Cardinal, but in the Catholic Church itself, which will give protection to Grimaldi. Such corruption may call into question the intent behind the Friar’s depiction of the torments of hell to Annabella.

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Summary and Analysis: Act 3, Scenes 1-5

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Summary and Analysis: Act 4, Scenes 1-2