'Tis Pity She's a Whore Summary and Analysis: Act 5, Scene 6
by John Ford

Start Your Free Trial

Summary and Analysis: Act 5, Scene 6

Summary
The Cardinal, Florio, Donado, Soranzo, Richardetto, and Vasques take their places at Soranzo’s banquet. Vasques briefly tells Soranzo to “be wise and resolute” in carrying out his plans for revenge before Soranzo asks the Cardinal if he likes the entertainment. The affirmative answer comes just before Giovanni enters with a heart on his dagger. He tells Soranzo he is “proud in the spoil of love and vengeance!”

Download 'Tis Pity She's a Whore Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Soranzo wonders if his plot is undone, and Giovanni says he has killed Annabella, whose heart is now before them. An amazed Florio is told by his son that he had loved Annabella for nine months, and that her baby was his. At first Florio disbelieves this, and Soranzo too doubts Giovanni. But Vasques reports that Annabella is dead, and Florio dies, presumably of a heart attack or shock. The Cardinal calls Giovanni a monster, and Giovanni realizes he is the last person in his family who is still alive. He stabs Soranzo to take revenge for Annabella, and Vasques defends his master by fighting with Giovanni. Vasques calls out “Vengeance!” and the banditti come in to surround and wound Giovanni before departing. Soranzo realizes he is dying, and in his last words tells Vasques to kill Giovanni. Giovanni thanks Vasques for wounding him. The Cardinal calls on Giovanni to beg heaven for mercy before dying, but Giovanni rejects this advice to seek the sight of Annabella’s face as he dies.

With Giovanni dead, Vasques explains to a furious Cardinal that he has served Soranzo’s father as well as Soranzo himself by killing Giovanni. Vasques had served Soranzo’s father before the father died and Vasques went on to serve the father’s son as well. Although he was not able to save Soranzo's life, he preserved the honor of the family by carrying out the appropriate revenge that salvages Soranzo's honor, even in death. Vasques adds that Putana aided the incest of Annabella and Giovanni, and that her eyes have been put out.

The Cardinal orders “this woman” to be burned outside the city, without specifying if the woman is Annabella or Putana. He orders Vasques to leave the city and Italy within three days because he is a Spaniard, and not because he killed Giovanni. Vasques, after exclaiming his pleasure at gaining his revenge, departs. The other bodies are to be buried, and their property seized by the Catholic Church. Richardetto chooses this point to unmask himself and show his true identity. The Cardinal delivers the closing lines by summarizing the play as a story of "incest and murder." He also gives the drama its title by referring to Annabella with these last words: "Who could not say, 'Tis pity she's a whore?"

Analysis
Vasques gives another example of his control by telling Soranzo that he needs to be wise and resolute. However, Giovanni ends this control by surprising everyone as he brings in Annabella’s heart and discloses both his murder of her and their incestuous relationship. At this point, the deceit and secrecy evident throughout the play are finally starting to end, and the consequence of that deceit and secrecy is death. For example, Florio, who had tried to successfully and secretly negotiate his daughter’s marriage, is overwhelmed to the point of death by the news of her incest. Soranzo dies as well, but he dies satisfied...

(The entire section is 853 words.)