Ben Jonson

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Volpone: Act 5, Scene 1 Summary & Analysis

Volpone returns home after the court scene, attended by servants. He monologues, saying that the crisis is over. Never before in his life was the disguise so difficult—it had been easy in private, but difficult to keep up in public. His leg started cramping in court, making him think for a moment that he had instant paralysis, but he decides not to worry, since he believes that obsessing over his fears would bring him disease. He decides to prevent the bad thoughts (and the disease) by making merry and chasing away the fear with wine. Hoping that some new plot will make him laugh and restore him to health and good spirits, he continues drinking and calls Mosca into the room.
Here Volpone explicitly shows his fear that all of his obsession with disease will turn into reality, and his leg cramp raises the possibility that the stress caused by Volpone’s deception might actually be affecting his health. The fact that he already wants a new plot shows how his avariciousness is corrupting him; he has only just gotten out of trouble for attempted rape, but he immediately wants to undertake some new ruse.
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