Analysis of major characters in Volpone



The play's title characters is its protagonist, though an inconsistent one. He disappears in Act IV, seemingly replaced by Mosca and is first an instrument and then a victim of Jonson's satire of money-obsessed society. He is an instrument of it because it is through his ingenuity and cleverness that Voltore, Corbaccio and Corvino are duped and he seems to share in Jonson's satiric interpretation of the events, observing in IV  ''What a rare punishment/ Is avarice to itself.''But the satire eventually turns back on him, when he becomes a victim of Mosca's 'Fox Trap'. The reason he is ensnared by Mosca is that he cannot resist one final gloat at his dupes, obvilious to the fact that in doing so, he hands over his entire estate to Mosca. This lack of rational forethought and commitment to his own sensual impulses, is characteristic of Volpone. He enjoys entertainment, banquets, feats and love-making.  He hattes 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 love-making. 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 ****. 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. 


In a play that revolves around disguises, Mosca is the ultimate master of disguise. He is the person who continually executes Volpone's ideas and the one who comes up with the necessary lie whenever needed. The lie could be made in order to save Volpone from the charges laid against him by Bonario and Celia or to convince Corvino to let his wife sleep with the Fox- either way Mosca seems to have no scruples about deceit. But his most important deception is the one he effects on Volpone and the audience, hiding his true nature and intentions from both the Fox and us. In the opening acts, Mosca appears to be exactly…


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