Volpone

Corvino Character Analysis

Corvino, whose name means “crow,” is the final ‘bird’ hoping to inherit Volpone’s wealth. He is a merchant, and he is both greedy and controlling to an extreme. He’s cruel to his wife Celia, whom he confines to their home, and he is so jealous of other men looking at her that he tries to prevent her from getting too close to the windows. However, his financial greed proves more powerful than his jealousy and desire for control; having heard that doctors have prescribed a night with a woman as the only cure for Volpone’s illness, Corvino tries to force Celia to sleep with Volpone in order to secure his place as Volpone’s heir. By the end of the play, Corvino is willing to pretend that Celia cheated on him, preferring to be publicly recognized as a cuckold than to admit that he tried to force his wife into infidelity to obtain someone else’s wealth.

Corvino Quotes in Volpone

The Volpone quotes below are all either spoken by Corvino or refer to Corvino. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of Volpone published in 2004.
Act 1, Scene 4 Quotes

What a rare punishment is avarice to itself!

Related Characters: Volpone (speaker), Mosca, Voltore, Corbaccio, Corvino
Page Number: 1.4.142-143
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 1, Scene 5 Quotes

The weeping of an heir should still be laughter
Under a visor.

Related Characters: Mosca (speaker), Volpone, Corvino
Related Symbols: Disease and Medicine
Page Number: 1.5.22-23
Explanation and Analysis:
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O, sir, the wonder,
The blazing star of Italy! a wench
Of the first year, a beauty ripe as harvest!
Whose skin is whiter than a swan all over,
Than silver, snow, or lilies; a soft lip,
Would tempt you to eternity of kissing!
And flesh that melteth in the touch to blood!
Bright as your gold, and lovely as your gold!

Related Characters: Mosca (speaker), Volpone, Corvino, Celia
Related Symbols: Gold and Alchemy
Page Number: 1.5.108-114
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

Why, the whole world is but as an empire, that empire as a province, that province as a bank, that bank as a private purse to the purchase of it.

Related Characters: Volpone (speaker), Corvino, Celia
Related Symbols: Disease and Medicine
Page Number: 2.2.234-236
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 2, Scene 5 Quotes

First, I will have this bawdy light damm'd up;
And till 't be done, some two or three yards off,
I'll chalk a line; o'er which if thou but chance
To set thy desp'rate foot, more hell, more honor,
More wild remorseless rage shall seize on thee,
Than on a conjuror that had heedless left
His circle's safety ere his devil was laid.

Related Characters: Corvino (speaker), Volpone, Celia
Page Number: 2.5.50-56
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 3, Scene 7 Quotes

Honour! Tut, a breath:
There's no such thing in nature; a mere term
Invented to awe fools. What is my gold
The worse for touching, clothes for being look'd on?

Related Characters: Corvino (speaker), Volpone, Celia
Related Symbols: Gold and Alchemy
Page Number: 3.7.38-41
Explanation and Analysis:
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O God, and his good angels! whither, whither,
Is shame fled human breast? that with such ease,
Men dare put off your honours, and their own?
Is that, which ever was a cause of life,
Now plac'd beneath the basest circumstance,
And modesty an exile made, for money?

Related Characters: Celia (speaker), Volpone, Corvino
Page Number: 3.7.133-138
Explanation and Analysis:
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Good sir, these things might move a mind affected
With such delight; but I, whose innocence
Is all I can think wealthy, or worth th' enjoying,
And which, once lost, I have nought to lose beyond it,
Cannot be taken with these sensual baits.

Related Characters: Celia (speaker), Volpone, Corvino
Page Number: 3.7.205-208
Explanation and Analysis:
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If you have ear that will be pierc'd - or eyes
That can be open'd-a heart that may be touch'd-
Or any part that yet sounds man about you –
If you have touch of holy saints: or heaven-
Do me the grace to let me scape: - if not,
Be bountiful and kill me. You do know,
I am a creature, hither ill betray'd,
By one whose shame I would forget it were:
If you will deign me neither of these graces,
Yet feed your wrath, sir, rather than your lust
(It is a vice comes nearer manliness,)
And punish that unhappy crime of nature,
Which you miscall my beauty.

Related Characters: Celia (speaker), Volpone, Corvino, Lady Would-be
Page Number: 3.7.239-251
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 4, Scene 5 Quotes

I would I could forget I were a creature.

Related Characters: Celia (speaker), Volpone, Voltore, Bonario, Corvino, Avocatori
Page Number: 4.5.102
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

True, they will not see 't.
Too much light blinds 'em, I think. Each of 'em
Is so possest and stuft with his own hopes
That anything unto the contrary,
Never so true, or never so apparent,
Never so palpable, they will resist it—

Related Characters: Mosca (speaker), Volpone, Voltore, Corbaccio, Corvino, Celia
Page Number: 5.2.22-27
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 5, Scene 12 Quotes

Heaven could not long let such gross crimes be hid.

Related Characters: Bonario (speaker), Volpone, Mosca, Voltore, Corbaccio, Corvino
Page Number: 5.12.98
Explanation and Analysis:
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Corvino Character Timeline in Volpone

The timeline below shows where the character Corvino appears in Volpone. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 4
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...someone else knocks. Mosca tells Volpone to go back to pretending to be sick, since Corvino (the merchant) has come. Volpone says he’ll play dead, and Mosca helps him apply more... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 5
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Corvino enters as Mosca attends to Volpone, who is pretending to be deathly ill. Mosca greets... (full context)
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After Corvino gives Volpone the pearl, Mosca says that Volpone can’t understand them, since his disease has... (full context)
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Upon hearing Mosca’s trick, Corvino hugs him and asks if Volpone really is not aware of them. After Mosca assures... (full context)
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Corvino asks again if Mosca is sure that Volpone cannot hear them, so Mosca shouts in... (full context)
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Mosca says that he is Corvino’s creature, and that he owes his very being to Corvino. Corvino calls Mosca his friend,... (full context)
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...strange, doesn’t have the face to be unfaithful. But if she had a face like Corvino’s wife, he begins, and Volpone interrupts to ask if Corvino’s wife is beautiful. Mosca responds... (full context)
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...gets fresh air from a window, and she’s spied on by all the members of Corvino’s household. Volpone decides he’ll try to see her at her window in disguise, since he... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
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...Politic Would-Be and Peregrine, another Englishman, enter St Mark’s Place, a public square outside of Corvino’s house. Sir Politic says that to a wise man the whole world is a native... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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Mosca and Nano, both in disguises, enter the square outside Corvino’s home where Sir Politic and Peregrine have been talking. Mosca points to a window, and... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
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Corvino enters the square outside his home where Volpone (in disguise) has been selling an elixir... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
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...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... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 5
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Corvino, with a sword in his hand, drags Celia into a room of his house. He... (full context)
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Celia tries to calm Corvino down, but she’s unable to. He asks her what she could suggest as punishment for... (full context)
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...acts inappropriately and she says she only leaves the house infrequently to go to church. Corvino responds that now she’ll be even more restricted, saying that his previous rules will seem... (full context)
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Corvino is interrupted by a knock, at which point he tells Celia to go away and... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 6
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In Corvino’s house Corvino greets Mosca and guesses that Volpone has died. Mosca says that the news... (full context)
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...unfortunate task is to find a woman for Volpone, and that he has come to Corvino for advice because he doesn’t want to do anything that will come in the way... (full context)
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Corvino at first suggests hiring a “common courtesan,” but Mosca says that it’s a bad idea,... (full context)
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Corvino takes a moment to pace and talk to himself. He says to himself that there... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 7
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Corvino and Celia enter the room where Volpone is lying in bed and Bonario is hiding.... (full context)
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While Corvino explains the situation to Celia, Mosca tells Bonario that Corbaccio isn’t to come for a... (full context)
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Corvino says to Celia that there is no going back now, and that since he ordered... (full context)
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Celia then begs Corvino to be jealous and to act like her sleeping with Volpone is a sin, but... (full context)
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Corvino instructs Celia to go to Volpone and threats to hit her if she disobeys. Celia... (full context)
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Corvino becomes increasingly angry that Celia will not acquiesce, believing she is intentionally trying to disgrace... (full context)
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Volpone then jumps out of bed and says Corvino has never “tasted the true love of heaven.” He says that the person who would... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 9
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...accuse his father, to defame Volpone, and to defeat Voltore. Voltore tells Mosca to bring Corvino to court to stop Bonario’s plan. Corbaccio tries to listen in, but he can’t hear,... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
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Voltore, Corbaccio, Corvino, and Mosca prepare to go before a court of law. Voltore says they’ve figured out... (full context)
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In an aside to Voltore, Mosca makes fun of Corvino for being a cuckold. Then to Corbaccio, Mosca says that only Corbaccio will receive the... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 5
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Four Avocatori (judges) enter the court where Mosca, Voltore, Corbaccio, and Corvino have been talking. Bonario, Celia, the Notario, the Commendatori, and other officers also enter. The... (full context)
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...tears, and that she has had a secret affair with Bonario. He also says that Corvino has been an innocent and an extremely lenient husband. Voltore says that Corvino has been... (full context)
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...Mosca, and set out with Celia (who was very happy to participate) to defame Corbaccio, Corvino, and Volpone in court. (full context)
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...but Corbaccio cannot hear well, so he ends up only cursing out and disowning Bonario. Corvino is then called forward. Corvino calls Celia a whore, and says that she wants to... (full context)
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The Avocatori say that Corvino is acting out because of his grief, and they silence him. Mosca tells them that... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 6
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...as language he could have made Voltore heir to the whole city. Mosca then tells Corvino to go out in public, saying it’s much better that people think he is a... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
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...Volpone finds it incredible that Mosca has been able to convince all the men (Voltore, Corvino, and Corbaccio) that he is on their side without getting them to suspect him or... (full context)
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...about valuable farm land, but no investment is more productive than taking money from Voltore, Corvino, and Corbaccio. Mosca then asks Volpone how he liked Voltore’s work in the court, to... (full context)
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...he is trying to accomplish. Volpone explains that all at once he’ll get Voltore, Corbaccio, Corvino, and Lady Would-be to come running, thinking that he is dead and that they are... (full context)
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...he is inheriting. Volpone will then watch from behind a curtain as Voltore, Corbaccio, and Corvino become enraged and depressed. Mosca says that Lady Would-be will also come, and he says... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
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...Corbaccio enters and asks Mosca if he is the heir, but Mosca ignores him, too. Corvino enters, and wonders why Voltore and Corbaccio are also there. Lady Would-be enters and asks... (full context)
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Volpone watches in glee as Voltore, Corbaccio, Corvino, and Lady Would-be scan the will to determine who has been named heir. They all... (full context)
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Corvino confronts Mosca, but Mosca shouts back that Corvino should have led the way out of... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 6
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Corbaccio and Corvino are talking in the street, agreeing that they need to maintain the stories they told... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 7
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Voltore enters the street where Volpone (disguised) has just made fun of Corvino and Corbaccio for not inheriting his wealth. Voltore is furious, and he curses that he... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 8
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Corbaccio and Corvino reenter the street, where Volpone is still in disguise, in order to taunt everyone who... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 9
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...hope that Voltore is just pretending not to be the heir in order to confuse Corvino and Corbaccio. Voltore gets furious and curses out Volpone, and Volpone responds that he knows... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 10
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The Avocatori, the Notario, Bonario, Celia, Corbaccio, Corvino, and Commandatori all enter the courtroom. They note that Voltore is missing, but he soon... (full context)
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...that Mosca was behind everything. Volpone, still disguised, offers to go bring Mosca to court. Corvino says that Voltore is confused and distraught from not being named Volpone’s heir. Corvino says... (full context)
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...continues trying to tell the truth, and he provides a written statement to the Avocatori. Corvino and Corbaccio know that their reputations are on the line, so they both say that... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 12
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...story concedes that Bonario was wronged and that Celia was forced to Volpone’s home by Corvino, but Voltore denies the attempted rape because he believes that Volpone is sick and invalid.... (full context)
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...like he is possessed. Voltore falls and groans, while Volpone describes symptoms associated with possession. Corvino confirms it is the devil, and Corvino, Corbaccio, and Volpone perform an impromptu exorcism on... (full context)
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...Mosca is as innocent as Volpone, who Voltore now says is still alive. The Avocatori, Corvino, and Corbaccio are all shocked and confused at the news. (full context)
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...get him into a good family. Volpone admits publicly that he has been fooling Voltore, Corvino, and Corbaccio. (full context)
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...is confined to a monastery and stripped of his wealth, which is bequeathed to Bonario. Corvino is subjected to public humiliation, and is legally separated from Celia. The newly imprisoned are... (full context)