Volpone Essay

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In the following essay, Beecher traces the legacy of the prankster leading up to Jonson's comedy Volpone.

It was from the Satiricon of Petronius and Lucian's Dialogues of the Dead that Jonson derived the idea of creating Volpone's Venice as a city of dissemblers divided between he who pretended to infirmity in order to attract gifts and those who feigned friendship and generosity in order to attract the legator's consideration. The patterns of the tale of Eumolpos are visible in the play: the shipwrecked wayfarer who gets rich in a foreign land by posing as a childless old man and by speaking only of his wealth and the rewriting of his testament between fits of coughing. But it was from the tale of the death-feigning fox of medieval legend that Jonson drew the mythological substructure of the play. A Latin bestiary from the twelfth century recounts a version...

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This section contains 4,417 words
(approx. 12 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Volpone Study Guide
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