Volpone

Sir Politic Would-be Character Analysis

Sir Politic Would-be is an English knight, but he only gained his knighthood at a time when the English throne sold knighthoods out to make money. As an English traveler in Venice, he has been warned by travel guides to avoid being corrupted by the loose Italian morals. Politic means “worldly-wise,” and Sir Politic attempts to seem so. However, he is a comic figure because he is extremely gullible, and he tries so hard to give the appearance of being knowledgeable that he agrees to ridiculous fictions and fabricates absurd economic enterprises. Much of the play’s subplot is at his expense.
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Sir Politic Would-be Character Timeline in Volpone

The timeline below shows where the character Sir Politic Would-be appears in Volpone. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 5
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...person knocking was a messenger from Lady Would-be, the wife to the English knight Sir Politic Would-be. She has asked how Volpone slept and wants to visit him. Volpone responds that... (full context)
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...bravery of English men who give their wives so much freedom. Mosca says that Sir Politic is smart enough to know that his wife, however strange, doesn’t have the face to... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
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The English knight Sir Politic Would-Be and Peregrine, another Englishman, enter St Mark’s Place, a public square outside of Corvino’s... (full context)
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Peregrine says that he does have a passport, and Politic asks him how long he has been away from England. Peregrine has been gone seven... (full context)
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Peregrine asks Sir Politic his name and jokes, in an aside, that it’s fitting. Sir Politic tells Peregrine that... (full context)
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Peregrine then tells Sir Politic that what he heard about the raven is true. Peregrine also says that the lioness... (full context)
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Peregrine tells Sir Politic that the day he left England a whale was discovered in Woolwich. Sir Politic first... (full context)
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Sir Politic continues reacting in shock to the news of Stone’s death, claiming that he knew Stone... (full context)
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...says that he heard that baboons from China were also used as spies, and Sir Politic instantly agrees, recognizing these baboon spies as what he calls Mamaluchi. The baboons, according to... (full context)
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Sir Politic claims not to know everything, but he says that he has general knowledge and loves... (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 he and Nano begin... (full context)
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...medicines, which they’ll eventually sell for extremely cheap despite a very high starting price. Sir Politic says that Peregrine will have to see for himself, and he asks Mosca who the... (full context)
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...enters the square dressed as a mountebank and followed by a crowd of people. Sir Politic and Peregrine watch as Volpone mounts the stage and launches into a speech, explaining that... (full context)
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Sir Politic asks Peregrine what he thinks of Volpone and his language, to which Peregrine responds he... (full context)
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Peregrine asks Sir Politic if he would be the first to throw a handkerchief, but from her window above,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
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Peregrine asks Sir Politic what he thought about what just happened, and Sir Politic thinks it might be some... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
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...to get her away from him. Mosca then tells Lady Would-be that he saw Sir Politic where she wouldn’t expect: rowing in a gondola with the most cunning whore in Venice. (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
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In the piazza, Sir Politic tells Peregrine that he is ready to give advice for the inexperienced traveler in Venice.... (full context)
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Sir Politic continues giving traveler’s advice, saying that Peregrine should avoid talking about religion, and that he... (full context)
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Sir Politic gives some of his credentials for passing as Venetian (he has read important Italian books,... (full context)
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As Peregrine predicted, Sir Politic starts laying out his ideas for business ventures. His first idea is to import red... (full context)
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Peregrine asks what Sir Politic’s other plans are, and Sir Politic says he doesn’t want to give away his thousands... (full context)
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Peregrine swears not to steal Sir Politic’s ideas, but Sir Politic cannot find his notes. Peregrine asks him if he can remember... (full context)
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Sir Politic’s next idea is for a way to easily find out whether incoming ships from Syria... (full context)
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Sir Politic looks for his notes again, saying that he has a plan that (if he were... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
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A distance away from Sir Politic and Peregrine, Lady Would-be, Nano, and two waiting women enter the piazza. Lady Would-be is... (full context)
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One of the waiting women points out Sir Politic, and Lady Would-be assumes that Peregrine is the female prostitute dressed in men’s clothing. Sir... (full context)
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...that it’s impolite for one woman to wrong another by sleeping with her husband. Sir Politic and Peregrine are confused, and Lady Would-be compares Peregrine to a siren, to a famous... (full context)
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Sir Politic tries to say that Peregrine is a gentleman, but Lady Would-be cuts him off to... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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...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,... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
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...exchange for being named heir. He tells her to go home and be with Sir Politic, or else he’ll tell people what she did. She then exits. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
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Peregrine enters Sir Politic’s house in disguise, along with three Mercatori (merchants). Peregrine makes sure that he is disguised... (full context)
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Peregrine knocks and says he is a merchant here to see Sir Politic. Sir Politic’s servant says that Sir Politic is busy with stately affairs, but Peregrine asks... (full context)
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Peregrine says that he must deliver a worse disaster to Sir Politic. He says that the man Sir Politic met earlier in the day was a spy,... (full context)
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Outside, the merchants knock while Sir Politic scrambles. Sir Politic says he has a plan for such situations, and he produces a... (full context)
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Peregrine exits and the three merchants rush in. They ask where Sir Politic is hidden, and Peregrine reenters, saying now that he is a merchant who has come... (full context)
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After Peregrine and the merchants exit, Sir Politic asks a servant where Lady Would-be is and if she knew about the ruse. He... (full context)