Erin M. Davis
January 11, 2013
Volpone: A Tale of
The title character has a human circus of which he uses for entertainment – a dwarf, a eunuch, a hermaphrodite; although humorous it is also disgusting. The remaining members of the cast of characters, however, are not-so-likely shown in terms that make them appear inhuman, and given actions to match. The physically deformed humans are given so few lines and such little personality that they tend to serve only as basic markers of humor, hints that there are far more monstrous characters existing in the play. This story is full of guilt, lies, deceit and evil. There is only one character in the tale of Volpone that is innocent or even likable, and that is Celia. Every other character is more concerned with helping themselves at whatever cost, all because of their greed. Corvino forces his wife to sleep with Volpone so that he can make Volpone happy and become his heir. Celia begs her husband for this act to not happen, but all Corvino cares about is the wealth he can see in his future rather than the well-being of his wife and their marriage. Mosca turned out to be not just a helping scam artist to Volpone, but also for Voltore. Mosca brought Bonario in to watch his father sign away his inheritance so that Voltore could inherit his wealth, knowing that this was going to cause trouble. When Celia and Bonario are accused in the court by those hopeful of inheriting Volpone’s fortune, the charges are not simply legal accusations about their acts; each of the defendants is, in turn, condemned as an unnatural beast, certainly less than human. Celia is described by Corvino, “This woman, please your fatherhoods, is a whore/ Of most hot exercise, more than a partridge/ Upon record”.(Jonson, 80) A description, while untrue, describes her still as a wicked woman; as the case continues, her attackers begin to lower her status to that of an animal. However, Celia is far from being an animal or...
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