Explain why Volpone is a comedy of humours.

Asked on by oimlongs

3 Answers | Add Yours

renelane's profile pic

renelane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

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.

elsi343's profile pic

elsi343 | Student | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

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

We’ve answered 319,841 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question