Ben Jonson – “Volpone” Act IV scene 5

The lawyers enter, commenting to one another about the extraordinary nature of the case. They ask whether everybody is present. Volpone is not there and Mosca steps up to explain he is bed-ridden. Bonario denies it and the court decides Volpone should be brought here by force. The officers leave and Voltore, acting as Volpone’s lawyer, launches into his speech. He claims Bonario and Celia have actually been lovers for a long time and they were caught by Corvino, who, however, being too lenient, forgave them. Instead of accepting this with gratitude, they started to conspire against him and they still carried on their illicit love affair. When Corbaccio heard about the disgraceful behaviour of his son, he decided to disinherit him. Bonario, having heard about it, went with Celia to Volpone’s house, planning to murder his father. On not finding him there, instead he vented his rage on Volpone and Mosca, throwing the former out of his bed naked, and wounding the latter. Then he came up with the whole story about Volpone pretending to be ill and Corvino prostituting his wife to him. Bonario denies all that and the story has a huge gaping hole in it – what was Celia doing in Volpone’s house in the first place?

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