Volpone, by Ben Jonson

Volpone, by Ben Jonson

Length: 1177 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
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.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Volpone, by Ben Jonson." 123HelpMe.com. 01 Apr 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=36992>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Portrayal Of Women In Ben Jonson's Volpone

- Women for centuries have fought against a male dominated society in order to achieve a more equal standing. This same society and its stereotypes of women have proven to be a hindrance to accomplishing this lofty goal. These stereotypes prevailed in renaissance England and flourished in many of the female characters in the literature. Ben Jonson's classic comedy, Volpone, surely falls into this category. The portrayal of Celia and Lady Would-Be in Volpone reflects the misperceptions and low status of women in Renaissance England....   [tags: Jonson Volpone Females]

Research Papers
1082 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on Ben Jonson’s Volpone

- Ben Jonson’s Volpone is highly occupied with the evolving city setting during the early seventeenth century in London where international trade, migration and commercial commotion played the imperative role to shape and reshape people’s attitude to life. This evolving urban panorama entices moral decay of individuals and corruption in institutions. Fraudulence, deception, covetousness, greed, and selfishness become the means of individual existence in the exceedingly cutthroat money-making society....   [tags: literary analysis, cultural theory]

Research Papers
1927 words (5.5 pages)

Avarice in Ben Jonson's Volpone Essay

- What a rare punishment/Is avarice to itself. Volpone, Act 1, sc.iv. Do the events in the play confirm this. Volpone was written at a time when Jacobean London was infected with greed, cunning and credulity. These traits Ben Jonson used to show the folly of avarice and its rewards or punishment to those whose only love is money and appropriating more of it. Volpone is all about morals, greed and the depths people will sink to get what they want, despite its consequences on themselves and others. The Jacobean audiences were familiar with its setting in Venice and they thought Italy 'was the land of sensational evil-doing....   [tags: English Literature]

Research Papers
458 words (1.3 pages)

Volpone, by Ben Jonson Essay

- 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...   [tags: Free Essay Writer]

Free Essays
1177 words (3.4 pages)

Essay about Class and Identity Flexibility in Ben Jonson’s Volpone

- Upon first impression, Ben Jonson’s Volpone has the most authority out of all the characters in the play. Indeed Volpone’s initial high social rank provides him the privilege to morph into various identities without tangible social consequences. On the contrary, Mosca’s rank confines him to the role of Volpone’s parasite. He constantly aids Volpone in transformation, but he can never partake in transformation himself. However, when Volpone finally falls, the parasite usurps Volpone’s master identity and seemingly gains the benefits of his rank....   [tags: Character Analysis, Social Transgression]

Research Papers
3149 words (9 pages)

Compare and Contrast Between Ben Jonson´s the Alchemist and Volpone Essay

- Among the Jacobean and Elizabethan dramatists, Ben Jonson's reputation always came second to that of Shakespeare. He was Stuart dramatist from England, literary critic and lyric poet. Ben was born in 11th June 1572 in London after his father death two months earlier. He became a playwright and an actor after fighting alongside the England army in Netherlands. Among his greatest works and play are the Alchemist and Volpone. The paper compares and contrast the two these two great plays by Ben; the Alchemist and Volpone, giving an insight of the mind and ideas of Ben, some which cut across most of his works....   [tags: Disguise, Greed, Elizabethan]

Research Papers
524 words (1.5 pages)

Deception in Jonson's Volpone Essay examples

- Deception in Volpone In Volpone, Ben Jonson emphasizes the fun and the humor of deceit, but he does not overlook its nastiness, and in the end he punishes the deceivers. The play centers around the wealthy Volpone, who, having no wife or children, pretends to be dying and, with the help of his wily servant Mosca, eggs on several greedy characters, each of whom hopes to be made Volpone's sole heir. Jonson's ardent love of language reveals itself throughout the play, but especially in the words of Mosca and Volpone, who relish the deceptive powers of language....   [tags: Jonson Volpone]

Research Papers
779 words (2.2 pages)

Antitheatricalism and Jonson's Volpone Essay

- Antitheatricalism and Jonson's Volpone Crossdressing in England was mostly opposed by the Fundamentalist branch of the Protestant Church known as the Puritans. The Puritan dogma, much like the concept of transvestism, was constantly challenged. Puritans found resistance in the religious authorities of the Church of England and the English government. Before 1536, the Roman Catholic Church was unimpeded and always won over Puritan proposals regarding legislation. Without a cooperative political ear, the Puritans resorted to experimental spiritual expression by changing their social behavior and structuring....   [tags: Jonson Volpone Essays]

Research Papers
797 words (2.3 pages)

Jonson's Volpone Essay

- Homosexual Overtones in Volpone During the Renaissance, women did not participate in the theatre; hence, men, dressed in drag, played women's roles. This particular characteristic of Renaissance drama adds many dimensions, erotic and social, to the spectacle on the stage. However, "The primary difficulty in surveying this landscape results from the strong indications that early modern eroticism was fundamentally different from that today. Consequently, the challenge deciphering what may be radically different cultural codes for the Rena issance is formidable" (Zimmerman 7)....   [tags: Jonson Volpone]

Free Essays
479 words (1.4 pages)

Volpone Essay

- Volpone Volpone was first brought out at the Globe Theatre in 1605 and printed in quarto in 1607, after having been acted with great applause at both Universities, and was republished by Jonson in 1616 without alterations or additions. Volpone is undoubtedly the finest comedy in the English language outside the works of Shakespeare. Daring and forcible in conception, brilliant and faultless in execution, its extraordinary merits have excited the enthusiasm of all critics. The great French historian of English literature, Henri Taine, has devoted to it some of the most splendid pages of his famous work....   [tags: volpone]

Free Essays
654 words (1.9 pages)

Related Searches

Mosca is told that he is the “chiefest minister, if not plotter, in all these lewd impostures.” As if it is implied because he “feeds” off others including his master, then he must be responsible for the scheming, also as he is not as rich as Volpone it would give him a motive for wanting to take money from the Corbaccio, Corvino and Voltore. His punishment can be looked upon as more horrific because he will be whipped and tortured but Volpone will be placed in a hospital. On the other hand, Volpone will suffer a long time for his crimes and Mosca did double cross Volpone by the end of the play, so his actions can be seen as of greater ruthlessness. Volpone conducted his schemes for “sport” saying in the opening of the play “More in the cunning purchase of my wealth than in the glad possession.” Mosca it appears is revealed to be more scheming in a darker way than Volpone. He says earlier in the play “I fear I shall begin to grow in love with myself, and my prosperous parts.” And remarks “Success hath mad me wanton.” Indicating to the audience that Mosca knows that even though to the world he is seen as merely a servant of Volpone, it is him binding everything in the scheme together, so he is deserving of his more harsh punishment.

Similarly with the situation with Mosca, the situation in which “the gulls” are involved in can be seen as equally disconcerting. Corbaccio is sent to monastery to die. He is told by the advocatore: “Where, since thou knew`st not how to live well here, thou shalt be learn`d to die well.” This can be seen as unfair as even though he was consumed by his own greed his was tricked by Mosca into believing the situation with Celia and his son. Voltore was told he was banished from state of Venice. The reasoning behind this is to “take away the scandal thou hast given all worthy men of thy profession.” Which can be seen as ironic given the reputation of lawyers in Venice at time. The punishments given out to Corbaccio can be viewed as unfair because essentially they were duped into going along with the scheme, unsuspectingly. Nevertheless as Corbaccio did disinherit his son and Voltore did lie in court, it can be seen that morally they did wrong and needed to be punished. Also their punishments were not as severe as that handed out to Mosca, Volpone and maybe Corvino moreover seeming fair as they did not go to the extent of Corvino in his pursuit of the money.

Corvino is sentenced to wear “a cap, with fair, long ass`s ears” round Venice through the Grand Canal as a cuckold. It seems a fitting punishment considering he did attempt to force Celia to sleep with a “dying” Volpone earlier in the play, not caring his wife was cheating because he knew it could advance his chances of inheritance. Corvino responds to the sentence by saying “and have mine eyes beat out with stinking fish bruised fruit and rotten eggs” and “I shall not see my shame yet.” This can be interpreted as unfair as he had cuckolded himself enough in his actions previously in the play and has already being through an adequate amount of shame. Conversely, his cruel treatment of Celia: threatening her, pimping her out and accusing her of cheating can merit his punishment of the public shame of having to wear ass`s ears so that the whole of Venice will know his shame because of the way he has tarnished Celia`s reputation and partly corrupted and innocent party in his need to gain Volpone`s fortune. A way in which the situation of all “the gulls” is in structure is because they were all willing to compromise anything and everything important to them and in the end they are left with nothing, which is what they were in a way left with when Volpone pretended to be dead and Mosca proclaimed that he was the sole heir to Volpone`s wealth

In conclusion the lack of resolution, class based differences in punishment and situations in which the characters are left in, I feel are just and in structure when put in perspective of their actions throughout the play. The punishment of Volpone and Mosca, and the situation in which Corvino, Corbaccio and Voltore are left is appropriate considering this and Jonson serves his “office of a comic poet to imitate justice.” As he condemns the character’s for their morally wrong principles.
Return to 123HelpMe.com