Literature Study GuidesVolponeAct 3 Scene 9 Summary

Volpone | Study Guide

Ben Jonson

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Volpone | Act 3, Scene 9 | Summary



As soon as Corbaccio enters the room and sees Mosca bleeding, Mosca shouts that Bonario stormed into the house after discovering Corbaccio's plan to make Volpone his heir, and that he tried to kill them. Corbaccio swears this act of violence will "disinherit him indeed" and he eagerly hands Mosca his will. He inquires after Volpone's health, and when Mosca admits Volpone's health is improving, Corbaccio suggests Mosca poison him. Just then, Voltore arrives and demands to know why Corbaccio has given Mosca a new will. Thinking quickly, Mosca claims Corbaccio was trying to buy himself into Volpone's will by making Volpone his heir, and that Volpone only accepted to pad the fortune he would be leaving to Voltore. Mosca also claims Bonario arrived with Celia and threatened to kill them all if Mosca didn't testify that Volpone tried to rape Celia. All of this, he claims, fits into Bonario's master plan to defeat them all and steal their fortunes. Scandalized, Voltore orders Mosca to fetch Corvino and meet him at the courthouse to stop Bonario's evil plan.


Now that Volpone has completely lost control of his plan, he relies solely on Mosca's manipulations. The power balance has shifted entirely. Volpone no longer calls the shots that Mosca carries out. Instead, Mosca takes the reins and becomes the master manipulator. He concocts plans to keep both Corbaccio and Voltore on the hook, while masterminding a legal plan to ensure Volpone stays out of prison.

Corbaccio reveals his corrupt morality by demanding that Mosca poison Volpone once and for all "today." Corbaccio cannot risk Volpone's health improving. As an old, infirm man, Corbaccio needs Volpone to die as quickly as possible, even if it doesn't happen naturally. Corvino's corrupt morality is revealed through his inhumane treatment of Celia, and Corbaccio's is revealed through his murderous request. Only Voltore clings to his humanity, although audiences prepare for this legacy-hunter to join the others on the dark side.

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