Literature Study GuidesVolponeAct 4 Scene 4 Summary

Volpone | Study Guide

Ben Jonson

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Volpone | Act 4, Scene 4 | Summary



Mosca meets with Corbaccio, Corvino, and Voltore to go over the story they will tell the court. Privately, Corvino confides in Mosca a fear that Voltore's defense will make him Volpone's heir, but Mosca insists they are simply using Voltore for his courtroom experience. Mosca must jump between each of the nervous men to confirm that they alone are Volpone's heir, and the other men are simply pawns in the plan.


As Mosca arranges the story that will be told in court, he emerges as the play's protagonist. By this point, the audience has lost sympathy for Volpone after his attack against Celia, but more importantly, Mosca asserts his independence. He is no longer a "parasite" serving the master. He has become the master, controlling those around him like puppets. Mosca's manipulative control over the legacy-hunters is so complete that not even being in the same room together causes any of them to question whether they are Volpone's sole heir.

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