Ben Jonson – “Volpone” Act III scene 7 (the end) and scene 8

Celia begs Volpone not to rape her, or have the guts to kill her after he’s done with her. And if he won’t do either of these things, she would far prefer him to disfigure her face and body if it stops him from raping her and still she’s going to be grateful to him. Volpone tired of this tries to have his way with her, but then Bonario jumps out of his hiding place. The only reason why he doesn’t kill Volpone there and then is because he wants to report him to the authorities. He leaves with Celia, wounding Mosca on his way out. Both Volpone and Mosca lament their fate. The desperate Volpone asks Mosca to kill him and promises to do him the same service, saying “Let’s die like Romans since we have lived like Grecians”, which is  a really good line and also the one I’m sure I’ve read somewhere else (but Jonson is probably its originator). They hear knocking on the door and they are certain it’s the police (or its Venetian equivalent). But having no better options, they just decide to tell a barefaced lie and Volpone gets beck into his bed. But it’s not the police, it’s Corbaccio.


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