Volpone

Volpone Act 2, Scene 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In Volpone’s house, Volpone tells Mosca that he is wounded. Mosca asks what he means, and Volpone explains that he is wounded within, as he has been shot by cupid and is filled with desire for Celia. He says he can’t live without Mosca’s help. Mosca says he wishes that Volpone had never seen Celia, and Volpone wishes Mosca had never told him about her. Nonetheless, Mosca says he’s bound in duty to do his best to help Volpone win Celia.
Volpone evokes the common trope in love poetry in which someone becomes mortally wounded by cupid’s arrow, as if they cannot survive without their beloved. Though he has only just seen her, his lust for Celia already appears to be dangerous, inappropriate, and insatiable. This seems not much different from Volpone’s ravenous greed for money.
Themes
Theatre and Appearance vs Reality Theme Icon
Greed and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Women Theme Icon
Volpone wonders if he has any hope, and Mosca says that it is at least possible (even if unlikely). Volpone tells Mosca to use all of his resources, even “coin,” to help Volpone, and Mosca says that if Volpone can cuckold Corvino, then the mountebank disguise will have been worth it. Volpone wonders if the crowd believed his mountebank disguise, and Mosca says that it was very convincing. Mosca then tells Volpone to leave him to his trickery.
Mosca constantly reassures Volpone that their ruses are convincing, possibly because Volpone fears that reality will show through his deceptions. Volpone’s use of the word “coin” has a dual meaning, suggesting that Mosca should use Volpone’s use coins, but also that Mosca should figuratively turn Volpone into money, another indication of Volpone’s obsession with material wealth.
Themes
Theatre and Appearance vs Reality Theme Icon
Money and Commerce Theme Icon
Greed and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Women Theme Icon