The Ambiguous and Separate Natures of Mosca and Volpone

The Ambiguous and Separate Natures of Mosca and Volpone

Length: 490 words (1.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

The Ambiguous and Separate Natures of Mosca and Volpone  

The "dynamic duo" consisting of Mosca and Volpone in Ben Jonson's play Volpone are consistently and inconsistently similar. Strangely enough, appearances can be both correct and deceiving indicators of each character's traits. The obvious notions
of each player are often replaced by the intricacies of individuality.

Considered together, Mosca and Volpone both are childless, unmarried, and cunning deceivers. They are both guilty of unbridled materialism and sordid betrayals. Also, each character depends on some form of disguise- either physical or mental (1.1.
1,31; 1.2.73). Both lustfully desire women, are presumably childless, and unmarried (1.2.117-118). Mosca and Volpone are both alike in their linkage to their personalities by metaphor. Differences, however, arise soon enough.

The play's establishment of a societal hierarchy is a worthy consideration in the comparison of Mosca and Volpone. Mosca is bound and resistant to his subservience as a "parasite" to his equally dishonest benefactor (Volpone) (1.1.69). Mosca's pla
ce in society is much less considerable than Volpone's as his longer, more severe punishment reveals. Mosca is left without the saving graces of the status of gentleman (5.12.18). Increasingly, Mosca's metaphorical affiliation (the housefly) conveys his
common existence and non-influential social class. Further, Mosca resents being Volpone's support system and setting up his wealthy well-wishers for swindlings. Mosca is (at best) praised for being a "fine devil" (5.3.46). Also, as a parasite, Mosca f
eels the need to be appreciated for his services- "You see, sir, how I work/ Unto your ends..." (4.6.91-92). Another distinction between both characters is that Mosca feels proud (even in reliable soliloquies) of his prosperous misdeeds. Mosca remarks,
"I fear I shall begin to grow in love/ With my dear self..." (3.1-2). His pride grows into viciousness and a plot to kill his own master in a "Fox-trap" (5.5.18).

Volpone, while equally witty and deceptive, demonstrates he has more power in the relationship. Volpone uses this capability to attempt to claim Celia's hand despite Mosca's non-verbalized attempt to do likewise (1.5.108-116). As a nobleman, it st
ands to reason that Volpone is more "wrong" for his aspirations. However, in his pursuit, Volpone has real ethical problems (unlike Mosca) with his actions. He talks of expelling a conscious "humor from [his] heart" and cries "What a vile wretch was I"
(5.11.12-15). Mosca is also the driving force for rekindling Volpone's evil in the duo's attempt to "gull the court" (5.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Ambiguous and Separate Natures of Mosca and Volpone." 18 Jan 2020

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Dynamic Duo in Volpone Essay

- The Dynamic Duo in Volpone While Mosca and Volpone, the "dynamic duo" in this play, share many similarities, they are still different enough to compliment one another. On one hand, both characters are alike in that they share a common lust for deceit, making their living by tricking others. They take delight in conjuring up and performing elaborate schemes in order to fool people. This becomes a game for the two of them, which they both enjoy playing immensely. Perhaps the common love of this game is what knits Volpone's heart so tightly to Mosca's....   [tags: Volpone]

Free Essays
418 words (1.2 pages)

Staging Jonson's Volpone Essays

- Staging Volpone Jonson's Volpone, or The Fox is almost exactly contemporary with Shakespeare's Othello and contains aspects that some might view as its comic counterpart. Venetian corruption and the insidious influence of a mincing, unscrupulous servant are themes common to both plays. What, though, has this play to communicate to us. Themes of corruption and materialism, resulting in a misanthropic view of the world, might have been telling in seventeenth-century England, but it is of course extremely difficult to construe them as relevant to the world of today.....   [tags: Jonson Volpone]

Research Papers
668 words (1.9 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)

Essay on Volpone – Disturbing or Funny?

- 'It invites us to laugh at things which with only a slight shift of perspective are troubling and disturbing rather than funny' The backbone of ' Volpone' is a tale of a dark and absurd world where twisted, greedy characters deceive and attempt to deceive each other. Despite this bleak situation it is a very funny play, the humor increases as the characters sink to new levels. This interplay of disturbing human fault with witty humor does indeed allow us to laugh at situations that are at a second glance horrific and  distressful....   [tags: Jonson Volpone Essays]

Research Papers
1499 words (4.3 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)

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)

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)

Ben Jonson's Volpone - A New Form of Comedy Essay

- Many critics of Ben Jonson's 'Volpone' have argued that it is not a true comedy but rather a mix of tragedy, comedy, and satire. Many have also claimed that it follows the traditional beast-fable that can be found in the tales of Aesop. Although Volpone takes on some characteristics of tragedy, it seems to follow closer to the conventions of comedy. But it is not the traditional form of comedy. It is a play that takes on the form of a comical satire as well as a morality play. It also adapts the features of a fable in that it strives to teach a moral....   [tags: Ben Jonson Volpone Essays]

Research Papers
2996 words (8.6 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)

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)

Related Searches

2.15). In addition, the metaphorical fox's cunning and fraudulence show more emotion and physicality. Volpone not only convinces peo
ple into falsities; he is these falsities in the flesh.

Through it all, a state of ruthlessness and deception embody each seemingly identical character. However, each must be taken for its own merit, his own soul, his own evil, and his own actions. Only by doing so can the reader achieve a true sense o
f literary justice, which one might feel the character (naturally) deserves.

Return to