January 29 – English 3700
Read about the closure: emailing the mayor to do something about it!
• Beast fable: Volpone is the fox: fox is crafty, clever, predatory and ruthless, the fox
pretends to be dead in order to catch birds, greed and aggression backfiring. Humans
• Indebted to Commedia dell’Arte: form of Italian comedy that came out of Venice but
generally northern Italy. Started in the 16 century but continues into 17 century.
Involves roaming troupes of actors (some included women) performing for varying
audiences. Key is stock characters is improvised (influenced by roman comedy), plots
are basic: adultery, jealousy husband, young wife, ect. Zanni (Moska): servant
characters to help the lovers. Happy ending.
o important to Volpone because it is set in Venice
• Characterization of Volpone and Moska: they have virtues (wit, intelligence)
o Moska transcends the side kick character overcoming in importance to his
master, his ability to improvise easily (almost related to Commedia dell’Arte) No
characters who are better than him.
• Woodbees pair are parrots: talkative, much more intelligent than they are, self-satisfied,
lightening up the comedy, represents English folly not far from Italian vice. Imitating the
• Ideas about other countries that give characterization: but they start to get a little close.
o English folly: Woodbee
o Italian vice: Moska, Volpone
• Attendant grotesque: Servants, entertainers: Dawf, hermaphrodite, unick: