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Tis Pity She's a Whore

From WikiSummaries, free book summaries

'Tis Pity She's a Whore is a tragedy written by John Ford. It was likely first performed between 1629 and 1633, by Queen Henrietta's Men at the Cockpit Theatre. The play was first published in 1633, in a quarto printed by Nicholas Okes for the bookseller Richard Collins. Ford dedicated the play to John Mordaunt, 1st Earl of Peterborough and Baron of Turvey.

The play was revived early in the Restoration era: Samuel Pepys saw a 1661 performance at the Salisbury Court Theatre. In 1894 The play was translated into French by Maurice Maeterlinck under then name of Annabella, and produced at the Theatre de l'Ouvre.

The play's treatment of the subject of incest made it one of the most controversial works in English literature. The play was entirely omitted from an 1831 collected edition of Ford's plays; its title has often been changed to something euphemistic like Giovanni and Annabella or 'Tis Pity or The Brother and Sister. Until well into the twentieth century, critics were usually harsh in their condemnations. The subject matter offended them, as did Ford's failure to condemn his protagonist. "Instead of stressing the villainy, Ford portrays Giovanni as a talented, virtuous, and noble man who is overcome by a tumultuous passion that brings about his destruction." Since the mid-twentieth century, scholars and critics have shown more tolerance, understanding, and appreciation of the complexities and ambiguities of the work.