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Explain why Volpone is a comedy of humours.

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oimlongs | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 9, 2007 at 6:08 PM via web

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Explain why Volpone is a comedy of humours.

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renelane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 10, 2007 at 12:14 AM (Answer #1)

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Volpone's humours include greed, lust, and deceitfulness. They define his character, and in trying to succeed in his quest for material and lustful desires, it becomes a comedy of errors.

His deceptions in trying to attain the wealth of others by having them believe they will actually gain his, is but one example.

The ruse in which Celia is used as a bartering tool, all in the belief that Volpone is incapable of acting on his desire is another.

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elsi343 | Student | eNoter

Posted April 22, 2010 at 10:48 PM (Answer #2)

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see below

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elsi343 | Student | eNoter

Posted April 22, 2010 at 10:50 PM (Answer #3)

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The comedy of humours is comedy based on the exaggeration of the greek explantaion for health -the body was balance by the four humours black bile, yellow bile/cholor, blood and phlegm. If any of these were out of balance, the body and the personality were influenced.

Volpone is lustful - sin of meloncholia (too much black bile)

and decietful - sin of sanguine (too much blood)

Mosca is covetous - sin of choloric (too much cholor/yellow bile) reference 1

the characters also draw from beast characters, and the italian commedia del arte (italian commedia del art reference

T.F. Heck, 1988, Commedia dell’arte: a guide to the primary and secondary literature, IUniverse, New York, p155)

Ben Jonson does move away from the strict comedy of humours after 1603, but they still remain a basis for his characters - refence . O. Brockett and F. Hildy, 2008, History of the Theatre, 10th edition, Allyn & Bacon, Boston , p110

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