Do the names of characters in Volpone help guide the audience's understanding of the play?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, the character names in Jonson's play do reveal personality traits. Here are some of the characters in Volpone:

most of this info is in the eNotes link below 

Androgyno--a hermaphrodite and a member of Volpone's household, whose sole purpose seems to be the entertainment and flattery of Volpone.

Avocatori--the four judges, or advocates, who hear the trial of Volpone.

Castrone--a eunuch, one of the freaks that Volpone maintains in his household.

Celia--Corvino's wife. She is honest and pure, the opposite of almost every other character in the play. The name Celia means "heaven."

Corbaccio--the Raven, an old miser who wants Volpone's estate. He is feeble, deaf, and greedy. Ravens are known for intelligence.

Corvino--the Crow, a rich merchant who seeks Volpone's estate. He is mean-spirited, cowardly, and jealous of his wife, Celia.

Sir and Lady Politic Would-be--Don't think of "politic" in terms of politics but as a synonym for "tactful."

Mosca--the Gadfly. Volpone's flatterer who plots against everyone else. "Gadfly" is a term used to describe people who like to talk and socialize.

Volpone--the Fox. He is sly and manipulative.

Voltore--the Vulture, a lawyer who presents Volpone with elaborate gifts.

By naming his characters this way, Jonson leaves nothing to the audience's imagination. He wants us to know from the start what each person is like, and we know how we are supposed to respond.