Summary and Analysis Act III: Scene 2



Mosca's musings are interrupted by Old Corbaccio's son, Bonario (good fellow). The parasite attempts to speak with the young man, but Bonario is "loath to interchange discourse" with such a person. Unperturbed, Mosca rejects the direct insult of "baseness" and falls into a lament upon the accident of his birth. After a well-modulated refrain of self-pity, Mosca weeps. Bonario is moved by this display of softness and repents his harshness. Seizing this opening, Mosca recites a litany of his villainies perpetrated before the audience's eyes, then denies his association with such corruption. Bonario cannot believe that anyone could dissemble such a passion, and he begs Mosca's forgiveness for so mistaking his nature.

Now the thread of Mosca's purpose becomes apparent. He warns Bonario that his father intends to disinherit him. Bonario begins to suspect Mosca of some trickery. Equal to this turn of events, Mosca praises Bonario for remaining faithful to his filial duty. Such devotion, says the gadfly, only makes the wrong more monstrous. In order to prove himself honest, Mosca offers to bring Bonario to witness the deed. Bonario follows Mosca, whose "heart weeps blood in anguish."


The irony of the entire plot and language is intensifying with each scene. Mosca tells Bonario the truth, which only he could know. Then he denies he had a part in the revealed plot. The audience knows the truth of the matter and is able to appreciate the magnitude and excellence of Mosca's lie.

The falsehood is told to the gullible Bonario. Jonson ironically mixes truth into the story that tricks this paragon of virtue. Indeed, Bonario is as phony a hero as Celia is a heroine. Surely the costumers would dress their one-dimensional purity in white. They are without emotional depth and sincerity.

The pace is beginning to quicken; the scenes are short and actors sweep on and off stage, into and out of hiding places, taxing the skill of the actors and the funny bone of the audience.

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