By Inviting Us To Laugh At Foolishness

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‘By inviting us to laugh at foolishness, writers encourage us to laugh at ourselves.’ In the light of this view, consider ways in which writes use mockery and humour.

Both Volpone and the wife of Bath take the undesirable human traits and use the notation of “Black Humour” to allow the audience, to not only laugh at the faults of the characters, but relate these traits back to their own lives.

Avarice and the obsession with wealth is Volpone’s central satirical theme. From the first scene it transpires that Volpone is an individual with a twisted mind and an inverted system of values. Volpone seems to be controlled by his animal desires for earthly pleasures. It is therefore not surprising that the protagonist is a fox descending from animality to bestiality. We see the results of this obsession unfolding throughout the play. From the beginning we see where Volpone’s heartlies. It is with his wealth. His gold has become his god and consuming obsession. His opening words show this clearly ‘Open the shrine, that I may see my saint. …With adoration.”

Corbaccio- mocked for being old when he can’t hear what mosca is saying. He is slow to catch up with the situations, at the will reading and at the end

WOB- She has old husbands making them important. This is what provides the humour. She mocks them for being bad in bed. She does not mock being old itself, her tale suggest that old age should be respected. She talks movingly about it

Corvino- mad, hideous husband- especially when celia looks out the window. It is a horrible portrayal of jealousy, using horrid language. It is contradictory of his jealousy when he attempts to sell his wife to Volpone.

WOB- she says her husbands are jealous of her and she pretends that she is jealous of them to please them.

Volpone- saying one thing for effect and feeling another. Corvino goes on about his honour but is then prepared to prostitute his wife for money. His...
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