Is Volpone a Comedy of Humours? Examine Volpone as a Comedy of Humours.

Volpone as a Comedy of Humours

Volpone as a Comedy of Humours.

The term ‘humour’ is derived from medieval physiology. According to the medieval belief the four basic fluids of the body – blood, phlegm, choler/yellow bile, melancholy/black bile – directly affect a person’s physical condition, and these fluids were called humours. When the humours are in a balanced state, the person will remain in a good temper. If, any of the humours gets imbalanced, the person also becomes physically and psychologically abnormal. For example, dominance of blood makes human sanguine happy, – generous; phlegm makes human phlegmatic – cowardly, pale; choler makes choleric- hot-tempered, impatient, vindictive; black bile makes pensive, sentimental, melancholic.

A comedy of humours refers to a kind of drama that targeted on characters, every character representing a kind of temperament. The characters in Volpone square measure stereotypes. They represent a personality sort instead of a flesh-and-blood. There are some characters in this play that have physical abnormalities like Nano, Castrone and Androgyno and nonetheless they’re not as out of balance like Volpone, Mosca, Voltore, Corvino, Corbaccio, etc.

Volpone is associate unbalanced character. At the terribly starting of the play, he worships gold as his god. Volpone’s worshipping of gold suggests that Volpone is totally consumed by greed. Besides greed, he moves on to blasphemy career his gold a saint. He conjointly earns his wealth by duping the inheritance hunters and desires to own sex with stunning Celia. He conjointly derives pleasures by tormenting the inheritance hunters. Of these show that he’s mentally unbalanced.

Mosca, the parasite, is also greedy like his master Volpone. He appears in the play to be a greater rogue than Volpone. He flatters his master and torments the legacy hunters to please him. At the end of the play, he appears in his true colours when he tries his best to cheat his master. Thus, he is also mentally imbalanced.

The predominant humour in Volpone is avarice, which afflicts all the legacy hunters – Voltore, Corbaccio and Corvino. Voltore brings a costly antique plate as a gift to please Volpone. He is so obsessed with money that he can plead against his Maker if he were paid a fee of six sols more. He often addresses the judges as “honoured fathers”, “your fatherhood”, “your virtues” etc. to gain the sympathy of the judges. Corbaccio, the oldest of the legacy hunters, agrees to disinherit his own son, Bonario, in order to inherit Volpone’s wealth. Even he disclaims Bonario as his son and calls him “swine, goat, wolf, parricide.” Corvino forces his innocent wife to sleep with Volpone. He also denounces his wife as a whore and says that he has seen his wife with his own eyes in the act of sexual intercourse with Bonario.

The humours of Sir Politic Would-be and his wife are not inborn, but acquired. The humour of Sir Politic is to affect great political skill and statesmanship. In addition to his political humour, he also suffers from the humour of a stereotypical traveller, who took note of every trivial activity during his visit abroad. Lady Politic Would-be is a medley of many affected humours. She pretends to possess infinite knowledge of various academic disciplines. Her theory of obsession and possession is a crude travesty of Platonic thinking. She is also very greedy. To acquire Volpone’s wealth, she is ready to offer her body.

In the play, Volpone, Mosca, Corvino, Corbaccio, Voltore, Sir Politic Would-be and his spouse, all of them do have imbalance of their characters, and this imbalance make the play a comedy since these irregular characters pave the way in which for making the plot satiric and amusing. Every character is peculiar and singular in his/her personal manner. Right here Jonson reveals that the psychological imbalance is extra harmful than bodily imbalance as he reveals that, the characters – Nano, Castrone and Androgyno – being bodily irregular, are higher creatures than the sooner ones. The characters in Volpone are stereotypes. All the characters are imbalanced as properly, so their “humours” are out of steadiness, and so they thus act in comical methods. Thus, Volpone is a comedy of humours.

02 comments on “Is Volpone a Comedy of Humours? Examine Volpone as a Comedy of Humours.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *