Every Man in His Humour

by

Ben Jonson

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Every Man in His Humour: Act 4, Scene 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Old Knowell arrives at Cob’s house. He asks Tib who is within the house; not knowing who he is, she is reluctant to say. She tells Knowell that she’s never heard of Edward.
Tib and Old Knowell’s confusion—neither of them knows who the other one is—is emblematic of the anarchic confusion running throughout the play (mostly Wellbred’s doing).
Themes
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Dame Kitely and Cash arrive. Dame Kitely demands to know where Kitely is, but Tib tells her that he isn’t there. Kitely arrives, dressed in a cloak. Thinking he is trying to disguise himself, Dame Kitely chastises Kitely for being an adulterer.
Kitely and Dame Kitely’s misunderstanding reaches its peak, with each angrily accusing the other of wrongdoing. Wellbred’s project of destabilization is working to great effect.
Themes
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Kitely, caught up in his own suspicions, thinks Dame Kitely’s secret lover is Old Knowell, “this hoary-headed lecher.” They angrily accuse one another. Old Knowell sense that a trick has been played on him for spying on Edward—and “half-forgives” Edward if he is behind it all.
Kitely’s absurd jealousy sets its sights on Old Knowell, who has no idea what he’s talking about. Knowell—who is not a stupid man—starts to realize what’s going on, perhaps with a sense of grudging respect for his son’s and Wellbred’s mischief.
Themes
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Parenthood Theme Icon
Cob enters, shocked to hear Kitely’s claims that Old Knowell has cuckolded him (Kitely) within Cob’s house. He beats Tib for being a “bawd.” Old Knowell tries to stop the “madness.” They all decide to go to Justice Clement for judgment.
Cob’s violence towards Tib is intended to be grotesquely comical, rather than genuinely shocking. Justice Clement is seen as the last vestige of authority, the man who can restore authenticity to proceedings—that is, they think he can get to the bottom of what has happened.
Themes
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
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