Volpone by Ben Jonson || Poet & Lesson Introduction, Characters, Summary and Key Information | Learning The Easy Way

 Short discussion about Volpone


Poet Introduction:

Ben Jonson was an English dramatist in the Elizabethan Period. He was also a literary critic. He was born in 1572 in England.  He was the father of English Realistic comedy. He was also the father of comedy of Humours. He started writing in the Elizabethan period but he became famous in the Jacobean period. He was generally regarded as the second most important English playwright after William Shakespeare. He made drama a mirror of life and brought it closer to the realities of life. His great merit lies in introducing realism in play. He was a master of characterization. There was a little romance and love element in his play. He gave serious thought to comedy. He became the leader and founder of English comedy in its true spirit. He became the father of classical comedy in England. He launched realistic comedy instead of romantic comedy. So, we can say that he is essentially a realist and a satirist. He died in 15637 at the age of 65 in England.


Lesson Introduction:

Volpone (The Foxes) is one of the famous plays by Ben Jonson in the Elizabethan Period. It is a beast fable. Volpone is the central character in this play. On the other hand, Mosca is a famous character in this play. It is the most powerful and almost in the tradition of the morality plays. It is a satire against greed. It has five acts. It was probably produced in 1605 or 1606. It was published in 1607.



  • Volpone
  • Mosca
  • Celia
  • Voltore
  • Corvino
  • Corbaccio


Volpone is one of the greatest plays of Ben Jonson. It is a masterpiece play. There are so many characters in this play. Volpone is one of them. He is the central character of this play. He is a childless rich man. He is also a nobleman with no relatives as heirs. So he has to make successors someone for his vast property. At the beginning of this play, we see four characters. these are Voltore, Corbaccio, Corvino, Lady Would Bee. They come to visit old Volpone by rotation. Their only mission is to achieve Volpone's assets by any means. They are very greedy, worldly, and jealous. Volpone realise that.  So he and Mosca hit upon a plan to befool them. He informs the people that very soon he will die. So he wants to give his will of his favorite man. Volpone uses ointment in his eyes in order to deceive the people. When a candidate comes to visit him, he takes ointment in his eyes. Then he goes to the bed and pretends as a serious ill man. He uses Mosca as his weapon to deceive the people. 

At first, Voltore comes to meet Volpone with a beautiful gift. He has bought a costly and rare plate for Volpone. Mosca gives him false information and misleads him very easily. Voltore is highly pleased with Mosca and thanks here. He kisses the gift given by Voltore. 

Secondly, Corbaccio comes to Volpone's house in order to know about the health condition of Volpone. Actually, his mission is to be the successor of Volpone's assets. So, he has brought a bag of gold. He wants to please Volpone like Voltore. But Mosca also gives him false information and misleads him very easily. Mosca confirms him that his master is making a will for her. Only he is fit for his will. Corbaccio cannot recognize the cunningness of Mosca. Mosca also informs him that his master will die very soon. Mosca manages Corbaccio very tactfully.

Thirdly, Corvino comes to meet Volpone with a diamond. Corvino is very hopeful to get the will of Volpone. But Mosca informs Corvino that his master has children but they are illegal. His master has made illicit relations with Beggars, Gipsy, Women, Jew women, Black women, and Prostitutes. Mosca also says that Corvino is his master's favorite man. So his master has decided to leave will for him. Hearing this Corvino becomes highly pleased and thanks him. Fourthly, Lady Would-Bee Comes to contact with Volpone. She is a very greedy and wicked woman. She is also victim of Mosca's cunningness. Greed leads a man to the evil path. Corvino has proved this truth. He tries to persuade Celia to sleep with Volpone. But Celia Strongly denies it. To her chastity is the highest asset of a woman. Volpone tries to misguide her to offer gold but he fails to convince her. Then he tries to rape her. Bonario saves her from the clutches of Volpone. 

However, In this play, Ben Johnson shows the ugly side of human greed through satire with these characters.

Key Information of this discussion:

  • Volpone- morality plays.
  • Written by Ben Jonson
  • Volpone - Central Character
  • Volpone-(Fox)
  • Mosca-(Fly)
  • Celia-
  • Voltore-(Vulture)
  • Corvino-(Raven)
  • Corbaccio-(Crow)

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