Ben Jonson

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Volpone: Act 5, Scene 11 Summary & Analysis

Volpone enters alone on a different part of the stage, though the courtroom remains visible. He laments that he has created his own downfall by enacting his latest ruse. He was free and clear after Voltore cleared his name, but by indulging himself and faking his death he has nearly ruined himself. He says that Mosca needs to help fix things or they are in serious trouble.
Volpone recognizes that he fell prey to the very predicament he predicted: he was corrupted by his excessive desire for pleasure. Despite his self-awareness about his own culpability, he still thinks that Mosca’s deception can fix a problem caused by deception.
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Related Quotes
Nano, Androgyno, and Castrone enter, and Volpone asks them who told them to leave his estate. Nano reports that Mosca told them to leave and took all of the keys. Volpone says that he is now even deeper in trouble, and he curses himself for not being able to handle his fortune without indulging his whims and scams. He tells Nano to seek out Mosca in the hope that Mosca doesn’t really intend what Volpone suspects. Then Volpone says he’ll attempt to convince Voltore to go back to the rehearsed lie by giving him new hopes—after all, it was provoking Voltore that caused him to confess in the first place.
Volpone depicts wealth in a new light here: as a burden. In this understanding of wealth, anyone who has money faces the temptation of being corrupted by it. While Volpone has said that he believes wealth gives people qualities typically thought of as internal, like honor or wisdom, he shows that he also recognizes some important qualities are internal and separate from gold, like self-control.
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