Every Man in His Humour

by

Ben Jonson

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Every Man in His Humour: Act 2, Scene 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Now on the Moorfields, Brainworm enters disguised as a vagrant ex-soldier. He announces his intentions to disrupt Old Knowell’s attempts to follow and spy on Edward.
Now part of the urban cityscape of London, Moorfields at the time was an area of open land. Old Knowell has clearly gone back on his earlier decision to give Edward space.
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Just then, Edward and Stephen come by. Stephen is fretting about having lost his purse. Brainworm, sensing that he cannot easily hide, greets them in character. He offers Stephen a sword for sale, which he promises is “very excellent good.” When Edward asks where he has served, he reels off a list of 16th century battles.
Brainworm uses his knack for disguise and deception to aid Edward’s cause. His offer of the sword to Stephen is partly an effort by him to make his new character seem convincing, but also mischievously plays on Stephen’s desire to manly and respected.
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Gullibly, Stephen is convinced that the sword is a good one. Brainworm assures him it is a “most pure Toledo.” Though Edward tries to persuade him otherwise, Stephen buys the sword. They all exit.
Toledo, a city in Spain, has a long history of sword-making and steel-working stretching back to 500 BC. It is thus seen by Stephen as a symbol of authenticity. 
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Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon