• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine Jonson's use in Volpone of animal imagery

Extracts from this document...


Examine Jonson's use in Volpone of animal imagery Volpone whilst being a satirical comedy can be considered a beast play, as all the principle characters are people, but have animal names and display characteristics of the animals they represent. Jonson was a Renaissance dramatist and poet and was concerned with classical precedent. In Volpone, Jonson adapts a traditional beast fable that is found in Aesop's fables and presents a moral ending. Jonson refers to Aesop's fable of the fox that cunningly tricks a crow into dropping its cheese, in act one scene two. As Volpone tricks Voltore into giving him "A piece of plate" (P115), he remarks to Mosca "and not a fox / Stretched on the earth, with fine delusive sleights, / Mocking a gaping crow?" (P115). I think this reference to the fable suggests how easily Volpone will take wealth from the other characters. Jonson refers to the same Aesop's fable again in act five, scene eight. "A witty merchant, the fine bird, Corvino, / That have such moral emblems on your name, / Should not have sung your shame, and dropped your cheese, / To let the Fox laugh at your emptiness." ...read more.


I think Jonson also uses the snake to symbolise the cunning snake in the Garden of Eden, which deceived Eve and led to the fall of humanity. Mosca will deceive everyone and lead to the downfall of all the animalistic characters in the play. Jonson introduces the beginning of Volpone's visitors with the metaphor of birds feeding on carrion to illustrate the aims of the visitors. Volpone announces, "Begin their visitation! Vulture, kite, / Raven, and gor-crow, all my birds of prey, / That think me leaving carcass," (P31). The names of the characters function as metaphors, which create images of their true natures. The lawyer Voltore, named for the vulture is the first of the visitors hoping to feed off Volpone. In the staged play I would dress Voltore in his black lawyer's gown, the drapes of the gown representing the large black wings of the vulture. Jonson names the other two legacy hunters after carrion birds. Corbaccio the raven and Corvino the crow, visit Volpone after the vulture in their natural order of the largest most powerful bird first. Voltore who has more power as a lawyer, and then the smaller raven and lastly the crow visit the carcass. ...read more.


He is also by comparing him to a goat, accusing Bonario of being lecherous. Jonson uses animal imagery to identify the legacy hunters, and as Lady Would-Be joins the group of hopefuls, Jonson places her amongst the animals as a she-wolf. As Volpone invents his death he tells Mosca that "I shall have instantly my vulture, crow, / Raven, come flying hither on the news, / To peck for carrion, my she-wolf and all". (P235) I think Jonson is illustrating that Lady Would-Be is no longer a chattering parrot but has now become one of the greedy animals hoping to feed from the death of another. As Volpone hears his punishment and is led aside his final line is "This is called mortifying of a fox" (P297). I think that Jonson uses this quintuple pun to provide different images of the end of the fox. It is the humiliation of Volpone, bringing the fox to his death, tenderising animal meat or teaching sinners by punishment. At the end of Volpone, Jonson reinforces his moral message through animal imagery that greed and wrongdoing will want more and more until it destroys itself. As the characters are taken away to be punished the 1st Avocatore reminds the audience that "Mischeifs feed / Like beasts, till they be fat / and then they bleed" (P299). ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Zoology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Zoology essays

  1. Review and discuss the significance of animal cloning (such as: Dolly the sheep)

    While the number of possible cycles is limited, nuclear transfer cloning would be an efficient way of carrying out the process. Generating such homozygous inbred lines in larger animals is difficult and time consuming because of the long gestation times and small numbers of offspring.

  2. Using the Grounded Theory to explore people's views on animal use: What factors influence ...

    which makes this piece of research somewhat unique and it also has its advantage of enabling the participant to really think about and verbalise their attitudes. The Grounded Theory is a qualitative method that seems highly appropriate for this research.

  1. "An ape, a most ill-favoured beast. How like us in all the rest?" (Cicero)[1]. ...

    Returning to the aspect of humour, there are occasions when Self takes it almost too far, at the risk of almost losing our almost belief in the story. The reversal of the status of the dog and the horse is a good example, as it seems almost gratuitous.

  2. Holiday Sir?

    The only way I can think of going there is just to see all the animals HOLIDAY SIR? THAT IS A RUBBISH HOLIDAY, GOOD BY!

  1. Vegetarianism is a groing trend right now with more and more people choosing it ...

    Stop eating meat and change to pure vegetable food would not be a retrogression, on the contrary it would be a part of the culturell development of the humans. Humans passed laws for the protection of animals that say that it is illegal to superfluously maltreat an animal.

  2. The Hare and the Tortoise - The Modern Day Version

    "Come on, doorstop," taunted the hare. "Are you really compassionate for pullets or just plain scared?" Expectation A crowd of animals had now gathered and was, to use another poultry-exploitative phrase, egging on both combatants. Some were eager for the hare to be put in his place, others wanted to

  1. Investigating the effect that group size has on the vigilant behaviour of flocks of ...

    Each observation was taken by noting the date, time and tide. The distance of the length of the group was roughly calculated as the furthest distance between two birds in that group. Estimations were then made of how many birds were visible to any bird in that group this included

  2. "Who's Zoomin' Who?": On "Passing" and the Intersection of Race and Humanity in Alien ...

    One of these "sequels"-passing for human-occurs in Alien Resurrection. To assist recognition of this theme in AR, consider Lewis Gordon's reading of Pico Della Mirandola's schema of humanity: In his famous Oration of the Dignity of Man, Pico Della Mirandola constructed a schema that is instructive for the understanding of race and racism.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work