Character Analysis Volpone


Volpone (the fox) is the central figure of the play. He begins the action by his plots and intrigues, and it is the audience's interest in the manner of his downfall that preserves the dramatic tension until the final curtain.

Volpone, as the name suggests, is a simple dramatic character. He is a trickster who delights in disguises and intrigues. His actions are complicated in plot but simple in the psychology of the character that executes them. Volpone loves to trick people into giving him their most prized possessions. When he has secured these through cunning rather than ordinary means, the value is increased in the fox's eyes. In short, his character treasures the chagrin of those he has cozened more than the wealth received as a result of the cozening.

There is excellent comic sense in the simplicity and single-mindedness of Volpone's character. His insatiable desire to trick people is characteristic of the figure of the fool. Volpone is a nobleman, but he shares the same human nature as the lowly fools of his household. They are naturally deformed; Volpone is the cause of his own deformation. The plot shows his fall from the position of Venetian nobleman to the social position of a fool. Volpone's character flaw, the desire to trick people, has brought him to the final curtain. He starts out playing the fool and ends up by being one. He fulfills Mosca's prescription of people: "Almost all the wise world is little else, in nature, but parasites or sub-parasites."

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