Literature Study GuidesVolponeAct 5 Scene 10 Summary

Volpone | Study Guide

Ben Jonson

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Volpone | Act 5, Scene 10 | Summary



Voltore marches to the courthouse where the lawyers have gathered with Corbaccio and Corvino to sentence Bonario and Celia. The disguised Volpone follows behind. Voltore launches into an apology, claiming he lied to the court earlier, and that Mosca was behind the entire plan. Terrified of being found out, Corvino and Corbaccio claim Voltore is lying, and that he might even be possessed. The disguised Volpone offers to find Mosca and bring him to the courthouse to defend himself against Voltore's accusations. Voltore has prepared a written statement with proof of his story, but Corvino and Corbaccio claim the court cannot believe anything the devil possessed Voltore to write.


Voltore attempts to regain his morality by telling the court the truth—he lied, and Bonario and Celia are innocent. It is unclear whether a guilty conscience or anger over the destroyed social order prompted Voltore to recant his statement, but he nevertheless does the moral thing and tells the truth. Not surprisingly, the court accepts Voltore's testimony, despite dismissing Celia's testimony as too hysterical and emotional to be allowed simply because she is a woman. Once again, Voltore's imaginary ailment symbolizes his diseased morality.

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