Study Help Essay Questions


1. What is the function of the Sir Politic Would-be/Peregrine subplot?

2. What is the dramatic significance of the animal names of Volpone, Mosca, and the three birds of prey?

3. Give an example of implied physical movement and stage fun in the dialogue of the play.

4. Explain Mosca's statement that "almost all the wise world is little else, in nature, but parasites or sub-parasites."

5. What dramatic comic value did Jonson hope to suggest by using the characters of Nano, Androgyno, and Castrone?

6. Give an example of the use of hyperbole to promote dramatic irony in the play.

7. Is Celia's virtue a comic parody, or is it dramatically convincing? Explain.

8. How does the scene-shifting of the last act demonstrate the flexibility of the Elizabethan stage?

9. Why does Volpone throw off his disguise in the last scene?

10. What causes Mosca's sudden failure to understand Volpone's nature in the last scene? Explain.

11. Is the punishment of the company a comic or moral one? Explain.

12. Compare Jacques' statement in Shakespeare's As You Like It that all the world's a stage with Mosca's that all the world is little else but parasites.

13. Compare Niccolò Machiavelli's The Mandrake to Volpone.

14. Compare the savage irony of Jonson's hyperbole and the harsh ending of Volpone with the same elements in Molière's Tartuffe.

15. Describe Mosca's physical appearance, age, and voice, and support your casting with textual references. Contrast this exercise with a similar one of Volpone.

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