Every Man in His Humour

by

Ben Jonson

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Every Man in His Humour: Act 3, Scene 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Justice Clement asks his assistant, Roger Formal, whether Kitely has gone. He wonders what made him leave so abruptly. Cob approaches Justice Clement to ask for an arrest warrant for Bobadil.
Clement is an ambiguous character—he doesn’t have a clear-cut set of morals but applies his authority according to his own tastes.
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Justice Clement laughs at Bobadil’s reason for attacking Cob—the insult over tobacco—and instead orders Formal to send Cob to jail. Old Knowell, also present, implores Justice Clement to go easy on Cob. Justice Clement scorns Cob for “abusing the virtue of an herb, so generally received in the courts of princes.” Much to Cob’s relief, Justice Clement abruptly changes his mind and grants the arrest warrant for Bobadil instead of sending Cob to prison.
Clement’s momentary decision to punish Cob for insulting tobacco is based on his respect for status: princes like tobacco, and therefore an insult to the latter is a slight on the former. Clement’s abrupt change of mind again reveals him to be an ambiguous character without clear morals.
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Evidently in a frivolous mood, Justice Clement tells Old Knowell that his worries about Edward are “nothing”; “Your son is old enough to govern himself,” he says.
Clement’s words chime with the part of Old Knowell that wants to give his son freedom.
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