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Examine Jonson's use in Volpone of animal imagery

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  • Essay length: 1541 words
  • Submitted: 20/06/2006
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University Degree Zoology

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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." (P271) I think

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