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Volpone Summary | Benjamin Jonson

Volpone Summary | Benjamin Jonson

Benjamin Jonson has written volpone where he discusses avarice, in fact, the extreme greed for wealth. So, in the following content, we are going to discuss volpone summary. Let’s enjoy the content.

Writer Intro:

Benjamin Jonson was an English playwright, poet, actor, and literary critic of the 1600s. He was born on June 11, 1572, and died on August 6, 1637. His work had a lasting effect on English poetry and stage comedy. He made the comedy of humours more well-known.

Volpone Theme:

The main theme of Volpone is avarice, or the desire for wealth.


Character List of Volpone

Volpone (the Sly Fox) is a wealthy Venetian nobleman who makes more money by pretending to have a disease that will kill him and telling his greedy friends that he will make them his heirs.

Mosca (the Fly) is a parasite and has no other way to get ahead in the world than to share in his master’s illegal gains. He is Volpone’s top minister and the one who makes plans.

Voltore (the Vulture) is a good spokesperson for any cause. He helps Mosca scam other people because he thinks that the money will eventually come back to him.

Corbaccio (the Raven) is a very old man who wants to dance on Volpone’s grave. He gives his son nothing to make sure that he will be Volpone’s heir.

Corvino (the Carrion Crow) is a typical jealous husband who is made to look like a cuckold by his own greed.

Celia Corvino’s wife is very pretty.

Bonario A young man from Venice who was the son of Corbaccio and a good person.

Lady Would-Be:
Lady Would-Be is Sir Politic’s talkative and friendly wife. She and Sir Politic, tries to join the greedy gulls in trying to rob Volpone.

He is a tourist from England in Venice.

A dwarf of Volpone.

A professional fool who works for Volpone and is both male and female.

Volpone’s servant, a eunuch.

Other characters:
There were four Avocatori, one Notario, three Mercatori, and four Officers of the Court. These extra people fill out the group of people needed to run the court and find the plotters.


Volpone Summary

The first part of Volpone by Benjamin Jonson summary

Volpone is a nobleman who lives in Venice. He is greedy and loves gold, but he has no family to make his heir, so he must choose someone else. Several of his rivals try to win his favor by giving Volpone, who is sick, gifts that they hope he will return tenfold. Mosca, who is Volpone’s smart parasite, tells the three main victims to give until it hurts. Voltore is a lawyer, Corbaccio is an old miser who is about to die, and Corvino is a rich merchant who is married to a beautiful woman from Venice named Celia.

Lady Would-be, the unhappy wife of an English knight named Sir Politic Would-be, also wants Volpone’s money. After each victim is tricked in front of us, Mosca tells Volpone to think about a bigger prize than gold: Corvino’s wife. After Mosca tells him how beautiful this person is, Volpone decides to go see her. Volpone appears under Celia’s window dressed as a mountebank (one who attracts customers with tricks or jokes). Corvino sends him away when he finds his wife in an upstairs window.

While Corvino is making threats to put his wife in jail for longer, Volpone sings to Mosca about how beautiful she is and how much he wants her.  Mosca comes up with a plan so that his master can get Celia. He tells Corvino that the oil from the mountebank that Corbaccio bought for Volpone has helped the fox’s health, which had been getting worse.


The second part of Volpone summary

But if Volpone wants to keep living, he has to sleep with a young woman. The others are looking for a cure for Volpone, and Corvino needs to move quickly or he will lose his money.Corvino suggests a prostitute, which is a smart idea. However, Mosca quickly rejects this idea, thinking that the prostitute might cheat them all. Corvino finally gives his wife a gift. He’s sure she’s safe, so he sends Mosca to tell Volpone the good news.

Later Mosca and Bonario are talking in the street. Mosca tells Bonario that Corbaccio, his father, wants to cut him out of the will and invites him to Volpone’s house to see it happen. He tells Bonario to hide in the house of Volpone. So he does so. Lady Would-Be goes to see Volpone and talks him almost to death.  Mosca gets rid of her by saying that Sir Politic was recently seen rowing a gondola with a smart prostitute. Corvino shows up, dragging his wife into the fox’s house against her will.

She gets comfort from the fact that Volpone is old and weak. He cannot hurt her in any way. Volpone wants to forcefully rape her. Bonario jumps out of hiding, tells everyone about Volpone, and gets the woman to safety. Mosca saves Volpone from the police by telling the three victims what happened and getting them to tell the story he had already planned in court.


The third part of the summary

Mosca says that Bonario and Celia found the fox because Bonario couldn’t wait to see Volpone. He (Bon) grabbed the woman and forced her to say that Volpone had tried to rape her. Plan is to get a court order to stop Bonario. This is how Volpone wants the complaint to go away. At court, Voltore is able to make it look like Celia and Bonario are in love.

Mosca gets Lady Would-Be to say that her husband went to a prostitute with Celia. Volpone comes in on a stretcher to show that he can’t do anything. He is let out of the case. Now, Volpone is thinking of another trick.

Volpone tells his servants to tell the gulls that he has died, and then he waits for the gulls to come and take their share. He asks Mosca to bring an empty will where his name will be written just for fun. He has already made Mosca the heir, even though he is not really the heir. Volpone did this to make the victims suffer. Mosca shows the birds of  prey that he knows what they did wrong, and they leave in despair. Volpone follows them around as a police officer to tease them even more.


The last part of Volpone  summary

The three gulls decide to tell the truth in court because Mosca and Volpone and the loss of their hopes have made them angry. They say that Mosca is the liar villain who came up with the whole plan. Mosca is called and shows up with a different plan. He now wants to kill Volpone, even though he says Volpone is dead.

Before that, Volpone tells Mosca that he will give Mosca half of his property, but Mosca doesn’t agree. He just wants to talk about him as if he were dead and didn’t exist. Mosca has to keep being the heir. When Volpone takes off his mask, the whole plot is exposed.

Mosca is sent to the galleys by the court, and Volpone is stripped of his goods and sent to a hospital for people who can’t get better. The gulls lose their law practice, their wife, and a lot of money. Celia goes back to her father with three times her dowry, and Bonario is immediately his father’s heir.

This is the end of our content Volpone summary. Thank you for reading the content. Anyway, if you want to read more summaries from Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama.

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