Ben Jonson

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Volpone: Act 4, Scene 3 Summary & Analysis

Mosca enters the piazza where Lady Would-be has been screaming at Peregrine. Mosca asks Lady Would-be what’s wrong, and she replies that the Venetian government had better support her. She explains that she has captured the prostitute that Mosca told her about, and Mosca replies in confusion that the prostitute he mentioned is currently in front of the senate. Lady Would-be releases and apologizes to Peregrine, saying that she hopes he’ll forget the incident and that he should “use” her if he stays in Venice. Mosca and Lady Would-be leave for the senate. Alone, Peregrine is convinced that Sir Politic staged the whole embarrassing situation with Lady Would-be. Believing himself the victim of a prank, Peregrine decides to try a prank on Sir Politic in revenge.
Lady Would-be’s usage of the word “use” can have a sexual connotation, which, once again, establishes a contrast between Lady Would-be and Celia (who would do anything to maintain her virtue). Peregrine is embarrassed by the whole debacle, and in deciding to get revenge on Sir Politic with a prank of his own, Peregrine reveals that he, too, has been corrupted by Italian behavior. Peregrine’s corruption is light hearted and comedic compared to the other characters, but in this way the side plot echoes the moral lessons taught in the main plot.
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