Volpone - The protagonist of the play. Volpone's name means "The Fox" in Italian. He is lustful, lecherous, and greedy for pleasure. He is also energetic and has an unusual gift for rhetoric, mixing the sacred and the profane to enunciate a passionate commitment to self-gratification. He worships his money, all of which he has acquired through cons, such as the one he now plays on Voltore, Corbaccio, and Corvino.. He enjoys entertainment, banquets, feasts, and love- making. He hates having to make money through honest labour or cold, heartless banking, but he loves making it in clever, deceitful ways, especially as a means toward food and lovemaking. He is a creature of passion, an imaginative hedonist continually looking to find and attain new forms of pleasure, whatever the consequences may be. This dynamic in his character shapes our reaction to him throughout the play. At times, this hedonism seems fun, engaging, entertaining, and even morally valuable, such as when he is engaged in the con on his fortune hunters. But his attempted seduction of Celia reveals a darker side to his hedonism when it becomes an attempted rape. The incident makes him, in the moral universe of the play, a worthy target for satire, which is what he becomes in Act V, when because of his lack of restraint he ends up on his way to prison, the most unpleasurable situation imaginable.
Mosca - Mosca is Volpone's parasite, a combination of his slave, his servant, his lackey, and his surrogate child. Though initially (and for most of the play) he behaves in a servile manner towards Volpone, Mosca conceals a growing independence he gains as a result of the incredible resourcefulness he shows in aiding and abetting Volpone's confidence game. Mosca's growing confidence, and awareness that the others in the play are just as much "parasites" as he—in that they too would rather live off the wealth of others than do honest work—eventually bring him into conflict with Volpone, a conflict that...
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