Summary and Analysis: Act 5, Scenes 1-3

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 780

Summary Annabella appears by herself on the balcony, holding a letter written in her own blood. She speaks at length of her penitence for her “false joys” with Giovanni and holds herself up as an example for others to avoid. She also mentions her sorrow that Giovanni has entangled himself...

(The entire section contains 780 words.)

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Summary
Annabella appears by herself on the balcony, holding a letter written in her own blood. She speaks at length of her penitence for her “false joys” with Giovanni and holds herself up as an example for others to avoid. She also mentions her sorrow that Giovanni has entangled himself with her. The Friar has entered below, and hears most of this monologue. Annabella, unaware of his presence, goes on to praise the Friar and vows to die after giving her penitent letter to a passerby. At this point the Friar steps in to tell Annabella that heaven has heard her penitence. Annabella responds by throwing the letter down to him and asking that Giovanni read it and repent, as she has. She mentions her suspicion of Putana as she does: she seems to suspect that Putana has revealed the incestuous relationship to others. The Friar says he will get the letter to Giovanni, and both express their belief that Annabella will die soon.

The scene shifts to Soranzo and Vasques, with Vasques denouncing Annabella for her cuckoldry and spendthrift ways. Soranzo responds to Vasques’ taunting by resolving to have some banditti ambush his wife even as he behaves lovingly toward her. He tells Vasques to “invite the states of Parma to my birthday’s feast,” as well as Giovanni and Florio. Soranzo and Vasques exit planning to carry out this plot.

Giovanni enters alone, savoring the fact that his sister’s marriage has not reduced the pleasure of his love. He praises their pleasant union, then sees the Friar enter, and tells him hell is merely a superstitious fear. The Friar gives him the letter, which Giovanni unseals and reads. Giovanni changes color and denounces the Friar for trying to stop the love between the two siblings. Yet he recognizes that Annabella has written the letter, and that they are discovered. Immediately after this, though, he maintains that the letter is in fact forged.

Vasques enters to invite Giovanni to Soranzo’s birthday feast, and Giovanni tells him he will come. Vasques exits, and the Friar warns Giovanni that the feast is a plot to ruin him. Giovanni declares that he will go despite the danger and vows to kill those who plot against him at the feast. The Friar exits after warning Giovanni again about the feast. He is departing to Bologna to avoid the dangerous feast, and leaves Giovanni to depression. Giovanni repeats his intent to courageously kill those around him at the feast even though he will die there too.

Analysis
Annabella’s talk of her false joys with Giovanni suggests that she was deceived into enjoying her incestuous relationship, but now recognizes that those pleasures were deceptive and illusory. The Friar’s description of the afterlife she would suffer in hell if she failed to repent has apparently convinced her that her earlier pleasures were deceptive and temporary if they could cause her to suffer for an eternity in hell. Her repentance has led her to try to convince Giovanni to repent as well. Yet she and Giovanni have become separated after her marriage and penitence, so she cannot actually go to Giovanni to convince him. As the two grow apart physically, they are also growing apart emotionally: Annabella awaits her death, but Giovanni believes their old relationship has not yet ended and still has the same desire for his sister.

Giovanni’s monologue at the start of scene three shows that he retains this belief and, indeed, is even more intent on pursuing the pleasures of his relationship with Annabella. This focus has led him to dismiss the Friar and his warnings about hell. Annabella, though, was encouraged by similar warnings about hell to repent from her incest and abandon any desire for her brother. These differing reactions again show how the two siblings are growing apart and responding differently to their circumstances. After receiving the invitation to Soranzo’s birthday feast from Vasques, Giovanni suspects that Soranzo is plotting to kill him. While Annabella is simply waiting to die, Giovanni is determined to kill others at the feast even if he should die there as well. Annabella has accepted punishment and desires to be cleansed of her sins, while Giovanni wants revenge on those who cannot understand his love for Annabella and who have turned her against him. The Friar counsels Giovanni to move towards Annabella's stance, but Giovanni cannot be swayed from his dreams of revenge. He and Soranzo both feel betrayed by the other, although if Vasques had not informed Soranzo of the incestuous affair, they both would have remained happy. Vasques reveals secrets that kill, as seen by Hippolita's death.

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Summary and Analysis: Act 4, Scene 3

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Summary and Analysis: Act 5, Scenes 4-5