Study Questions and Suggested Essay Topics
Analyze the use of songs in Volpone. How does Jonson use them to create tone? What other purposes do they serve in the play?
Sometimes in Volpone, it seems that disguises can reveal more truth than they conceal. Give an example of a disguise that reveals a hidden truth about the character wearing it, and describe how it does so.
Jonson seems to use Volpone both as a mouthpiece for his satirical message, but also as an object lesson. How does Jonson reconcile these two conflicting attitudes towards his main character?
Suggested Essay Topics
Analyze the relationship between the subplot—the story of Sir Politic Would-be—and the main plot. How are they connected in the play? How are they thematically related?
In Act One, each legacy hunter comes to Volpone's house to present a separate gift. Discuss Jonson's use of repetition: what affect does it have on our impression of each legacy hunter?
Volpone and Corvino are both prone to extreme, over-the-top statements, especially in their dealings with Celia. Compare and contrast Jonson's use of hyperbole, or poetic exaggeration, in defining both Corvino's character and Volpone's.
All of the main characters in the play are named after animals. Describe in detail the animal imagery in Volpone, and discuss the affects it has on our perception of the play. How is it related to the main plot, and does it provide any element of foreshadowing?
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