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    Ben Jonson's Comedies and Characters That Overreach

    Number of Pages: 7


    Summary of the research paper:

    In seven pages this paper examines how major characters are undone by overreaching in the comedies The Alchemist and Volpone by Ben Jonson. Three sources are cited in the bibliography.

    Name of Research Paper File: D0_MBjonson.rtf

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    middle class came into being, to the changes in philosophy, religion, and the arts and sciences. As such, Ben Jonson, a noted playwright of the time, began to experiment with  several classic forms of plays and literary vehicles. He seemed to have settled on a comic satire having both a resemblance to a fable, as well as a classical play.  It may very well have been this experimentation which gave rise to the overreaching which is evident in most of his works. STORY In Volpone a whole host of  characters vie to be Volpones heir, so that they will gain a larger treasure. He has very little intent on making any of them his heir, but rather takes delight  in stringing them along and watching their pathetic antics. In the end, his supposed heirs plot against him, attempting to deceive him, but in the end, it is he who  is unmasked by Mosca. Then, they all try to deceive the courts, but it doesnt work. Volpone, although healthy, feigns deathly illness to urge the three to shower him  with valuable gifts in hopes of gaining his favor, and soon his money. The hilarity mounts even further with Lady Politick Would-Be, who is so talkative Volpone fears she will  make him sick in actuality. To relieve his masters distress, Mosca tells the lady that her husband is riding off in a gondola with a young girl, and jealous Lady  Would-Be hurries off in pursuit. However, having lost his hopes for the inheritance, Voltore begins to unwittingly figure out what has  been going on. He withdraws his false testimony, and the court orders Mosca to appear. Suspecting that Mosca plans to keep the fortune for himself, Volpone also goes to the 

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