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Key Facts

Main ideas Key Facts

full title · Volpone, or the Fox: A Comedy

author · Ben Jonson

type of work · Play

genre · Comedy (with tragic undertones)

language · English

time and place written · February and March 1606; London, England

date of first publication · 1607, in quarto form

publisher · William Stansby

narrator · The play has no narrator

climax · Act V, scene xii, when Volpone reveals himself to the Avocatori

protagonist · Volpone (though he disappears in Act IV)

setting (time) · The time of the play's writing, 1606

setting (place) · Venice, Italy

point of view · No narrator, no point of view

falling action · Scene V.xii: the judges sentence Volpone, Corvino, Corbaccio, and Voltore to various punishments.

foreshadowing · Mosca's soliloquy in III.i

tone · Satirical, ironic in the main plot; in the subplot, varying between satirical and farcical

themes · Greed; the power of stagecraft; parasitism

motifs · Disguise, deception and reality; "gulling"; the sacred and the profane

symbols · Venice; animalia