Volpone By Ben Jonson Summary and Analysis Act V: Scene 6

Summary

Corbaccio and Corvino are discovered in a Venetian street talking about the sentence that the court is about to pronounce upon Bonario and Celia. Each assures the other he will stick to his original story at the final hearing. What else can they do? Corbaccio did disinherit his son, and Corvino, but for an accident of timing, would have been the agent of his own cuckolding.

Volpone approaches the two gentlemen in his commandadore costume. He elaborately congratulates them on their recent good news, "the sudden good dropped down upon you . . . from old Volpone." Their old indignation returns, and they begin to beat Volpone. Both gulls leave in a huff, but Voltore comes on to take their place.

Analysis

The three short street scenes are a comic repetition of Mosca's mocking of the gulls, but Jonson has a reason for it. He wants the audience to see that even gulls can be insulted too much. The audience thinks the gulls are so frustrated they will eventually explode. If they do, the truth will hurt all of the characters in the central plot.

Once again, as soon as Volpone takes up a disguise, he is beaten. It is the fate of all fools to be beaten. In this case, Volpone is delighted by their anger. It is an excellent indication of the success of his ruse.

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