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The Use of Shocking and Stricking Visual Effects in Tis Pity She's A Whore

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Introduction

Early seventeenth century plays often make striking use of visual effects to shock the audience. Explain the ways Ford creates striking or shocking dramatic effects in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore. Plays of the seventeenth century are notoriously known for being rife with gory representations and some critics have gone as far as to suggest that Ford is a prime example of the glorification of violence and sex on the stage. However, this stylistic use and representation was not unwanted by his audience - seventeenth century theatre goers of that age expected shocking scenes with the purchase of a ticket. This very apparent made it necessary for Ford to sometimes over dramatise or make more bounteous his shocking and striking scenes - John Ford, many would argue, went just that one step further. Undeniably, one of the most shocking moments that Ford creates is seen fairly near to the beginning of the play in an exchange between Giovanni and Annabella. The play's main plot revolves around the two siblings and their growing love for one another, and we see this love addressed and first reciprocated in Act I, Sc 2. Giovanni is first to admit his love, offering Annabella a dagger to "strike" him with if she does not requite this love. ...read more.

Middle

This is of course very visual, but a psychological factor is involved, and that is in the lack of reaction by those around her. Through her "torment" and "flame's intolerable", no one attempts to aid her passing, or even the least bit concerned over the situation. No one is grieved by her death and she receives such plain and unsympathetic comments like "Was e'er so vile a creature?" The indescribable gore presented here by Ford contrasts strongly against the desensitised and passive characters, highlighting the dramatic effect. The audience are shocked into thinking, "Who could stand by and watch this woman die?" Bergetto's death also provides another shocking dramatic effect in the play. Bergetto, along with Philotis, is noted as being innocent and undeserving of any harm that comes his way, he himself being completely harmless. The unneeded and remorseless slaughter of one of the plays only innocents shocks and distresses the audience. His death seems truly unfair, especially when considering his and Philotis's recent love; the innocent, virginal Philotis and the 'daft but sweet' Bergetto are torn apart far too early. Another striking effect created in the play is found where Ford has Vasques order the Banditti to "gag [Putana] her instantly and put out her eyes." ...read more.

Conclusion

However, this shock does force is to wonder whether his death was in fact just or deserving; what caused it all was love. Is then his biggest crime that of loving? "Yes, you may love, fair son" says the Friar but this is plain and simply untrue. This is emphasised to us in his dying moments - a time which is emotionally charged and full of ambivalence - creating a harrowing and shocking effect. We are also shocked by the apparent "strange miracle of justice" that has occurred; everyone seems quite contented by the events. We are even more shocked and enraged by Vasques's lack of punishment and Putana's death penalty "for examples sake." The shock is created by inverted what the general consensus would be; meaning those who deserve punishment, receive none, whilst some pay the ultimate sacrifice. John Ford creates many shocking and striking dramatic effects, which are mainly visual representations, in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, as done so by his contemporaries; the disturbed and gorish themes throughout shock the audience. The dramatic representations are far and wide, ranging from striking beauty through the simple declaration of love, desperate immolations and the slaughter of innocents so shocking an audience is left enraged, screaming for "brave revenge". ...read more.

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