Every Man in His Humour

by

Ben Jonson

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Every Man in His Humour: Act 5, Scene 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Downright, Brainworm, and Stephen enter. Old Knowell explains that Stephen is his nephew. Stephen says he has been falsely accused by Downright of stealing his cloak.
Stephen is being entirely inauthentic here—he deliberately stole the cloak.
Themes
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Justice Clement asks about the warrant; Brainworm, in disguise as the “varlet,” says he doesn’t have it—but that it was Roger Formal who told him to make the arrests. Clement asks why Downright accepted the arrest without seeing the warrant. Downright explains that Brainworm had told him he “must” serve the warrant, and he had therefore complained.
Brainworm’s scheming starts to unravel. The “Roger Formal” that he talks about is Brainworm himself. Clement’s questioning of Downright implies that the latter’s judgment was impaired by his temper.
Themes
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Justice Clement mocks Downright for following Brainworm’s instructions, waving his sword over Brainworm, saying that he “must cut” him—but not doing so. He then instructs Brainworm to be sent to the jail for his “must.”
Justice Clement’s quibble over the word “must” embodies a more serious point about the serious effect of misplaced—or misunderstood—words.
Themes
Language Theme Icon
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
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Brainworm protests, throwing off his disguise. Old Knowell is shocked to see his servant; he is annoyed and says he suspects Brainworm “for being of counsel with my son, against me.” Brainworm admits that he was Fitzsword, the ex-soldier. He also confesses that he had been sent as a false messenger on numerous times throughout the day; he explains that Wellbred is making use of the distraction to marry Bridget and Edward.
Brainworm has no option left but to reveal his true identity, faced with the prospect of imprisonment. The audience might reasonably expect him still to face punishment for the level of his deception, but his mention of the marriage acts as a distraction.
Themes
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Parenthood Theme Icon
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Justice Clement tells Brainworm to go and fetch the young couple, praising the “good news.” He asks Brainworm for Roger Formal’s whereabouts; Brainworm explains what happened. Clement says that Brainworm has done nothing terribly wrong and should be “pardoned for the wit o’ the offence.”
Justice Clement, rather than admonishing Brainworm, is actually impressed with the skill of his deception—especially as, in his eyes, it has served a good aim. Brainworm’s role has also served more generally to bring the follies of the other characters front and center.
Themes
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Parenthood Theme Icon
Related Quotes