The moment, which puts a fittingly sensationalistic point to the steamily incestuous relationship between Giovanni and Annabella, is in no way reducible to the final extravagance of a decadent genre, revenge tragedy.
Significantly, however, Giovanni's speech is not comical but, rather, positions Giovanni's situation as tragic--'Curse to my joys'--and even Giovanni's seemingly radical deconstruction of the binary opposition of nature and culture takes place safely within a patriarchal framework that maintains the distinction between man as cultural agent of exchange and woman as nature, bodies, and body parts: cultural forms are passed from 'man to man', and Giovanni and Annabella are brother and sister because they 'had one father' and 'one womb'.
At the heart of it all is the unconventional love story between brother and sister Giovanni and Annabella
. Ford has his sibling protagonists declare their physical attraction for each other within moments of them being introduced to the audience.
Ford's leading couple, siblings Giovanni and Annabella, are in many ways an incestuous response to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but in Shakespeare's play the love between the two represents the possible deliverance of Verona from the civil strife of feuding families--an end that is tragically realized by the couple's death.
Their "love" seemed pure in spite of this detail, and obviously more wholesome than that of Giovanni and Annabella. Bergetto's innocence was symbolized in the production by his primary mode of transportation: a mint-green scooter--the only obviously non-period prop in the production.
(30) When Giovanni and Annabella
discover their mutual affection, they do so in their father's hall.
In sharp contrast, Giovanni and Annabella
, the incestuous siblings of Ford's play, unapologetically affirm their kinship ties.
Certainly Giovanni and Annabella
literally do share one womb, one flesh, one blood, yet the literal presence of the "abstract" expressions of the Christian tradition in the bodies of the brother and sister does not by extension make "carnal" love justifiable.
Elsewhere the influence of Othello is traceable in the characterization of Bergetto and Vasques and, with greater significance for the play as a whole, of Giovanni and Annabella
. Bergetto, as well as deriving in part from the gross and simple-minded Ward of Women Beware Women,(5) has a clearer origin in Shakespeare's Roderigo.
First, I have already suggested elsewhere that 'Tis Pity's representation of Giovanni and Annabella
shares something of the spirit of Digby's enquiry into folie d deux.
Even though a good portion of the audience had seen the same actors as Romeo and Juliet a few hours earlier, Giovanni and Annabella
's secret love affair was met with laughter and contempt.
In each case, the relationship is a forbidden, indeed an unthinkable one - Giovanni and Annabella
are brother and sister, Richard is the murderer of Lady Anne's first husband.