- Paperback: 136 pages
- Publisher: Peacock Books; Latest edition (13 January 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 8124803013
- ISBN-13: 978-8124803011
- Package Dimensions: 17.4 x 11.8 x 0.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Volpone Paperback – 13 Jan 2001
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After Shakespeare, Ben Jonson was the most eminent writer of the Elizabethan stage. He is widely known for his humours and was the founder of the so-called “Comedy of Humours”. Volpone is set in the background of Venice and directs its scrutiny on the rising merchant classes of Jacobean London. The play is not confined merely to follies in contrast with Jonson’s earlier comedies, but includes crimes, so that, as Coleridge remarks, “there is no goodness of heart in any of the prominent characters”. The play drew on elements of black comedy, city comedy and beast fable. A relentless satire of greed and lust, it remains Jonson’s most-performed play, and it is among the finest of Jacobean comedies. Jonson was of the opinion that the poet had a moral function to educate, and thus the purpose of Volpone is to teach lessons about greed. Although it is a comedy, the topic is quite serious. There are, however, many moments of humour in the play, especially when Volpone is feigning illness and lies disguised. The play is often denoted a play within a play.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I must say the language took some effort at first. But when I got used to the old English, I enjoyed the play immensely. The plot twists and turns, people's greed makes them silly when they think they are cunning, and in the end justice is served - to some extent. People do not change or get much wiser as centuries pass on, do they...? Deserves to be read, definately, and - hopefully - translated for us Finns, too, by someone much better than me.
Just can't beat Ben Johnson, one of Shakespeare's rivals.