Volpone, by Ben Jonson

Satisfactory Essays
Consider the end of the play, the lack of resolution in the Bonario - Celia relationship, the class based difference in the severity of Volpone and Mosca`s punishments, the situation in which Corbaccio, Voltore and Corvino are left. Do you find the ending just and in structure or are the unresolved situations disturbing?

In the epistle of the play Ben Jonson states “it being the office of a comic poet to imitate justice.” It can be said that this is shown in the ending and that it is just and in structure as all the characters are punished in some way for their avarice and the “innocent” characters Bonario and Celia who in a way provide a contrast to the immoral selfishness, are set free and Celia is given back with three times her dowry money to her father. However there are unresolved issues left at the end of the play concerning these characters. One point of view would be that Celia and Bonario were secondary characters in the play used as virtuous characters to provide a distinction between the corruption and greed of Volpone. Mosca, Corvino, Corbaccio and Voltore, consequently making the problems concerning them as unimportant in context with the punishment or “justice” served by Jonson to Volpone. But then it is important to bear in mind that as these two characters were so inherently good-natured that the reputation of them and lack of resolution can be regarded as disturbing.

Another disturbing injustice can be viewed as the class based difference Mosca and Volpone`s punishments. Volpone is sent to “Thou art to lie in prison, cramped with irons, till thou be`st sick and lame indeed.” As he is “By blood, and rank a gentleman.” And is sent to the Hospital of the Incurables. Mosca, “Being a fellow of no birth, or blood.” Is sentenced to “ first thou be whipped; Then live perpetual prisoner in our gallies.” This inequity can be seen as being based on the fact that Mosca is a parasite, in metaphorical terms a flesh fly who feeds of others: the lowest of the low. However, when one of the avocatore thought Mosca had inherited the money therefore moving up in status, as a clarissimo he had described Mosca as “A proper man! And were Volpone dead. A fit match for my daughter.” And is called a “gentleman.” This shows how differences in class make a difference for how the characters are treated in punishment.
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