Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Essay: Analysis in Volpone

Dedication, Argument, and Prologue
From Sparknotes

The play is dedicated to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, both of which had recently awarded Jonson honorary doctorates at the time of the play's writing. He briefly discusses the moral intentions of the play and its debt to classical drama. In the Argument, Jonson provides a brief summary of the play's plot in the form of an acrostic on Volpone's name. The prologue then introduces the play to the viewing audience, informing them that "with a little luck," it will be a hit; Jonson ends by promising that the audience's cheeks will turn red from laughter after viewing his work.

These opening parts of the play, before we are introduced to the action, may seem superfluous. But they help us understand the play in several ways. First, in the banal sense; the Argument, as Jonson terms it, provides in brief encapsulated form the premise of the play, a premise that will be fully introduced in the first scene.

The Dedication, however, gives us a clue as to Jonson's intentions in writing Volpone. First of all, he is intent on writing a "moral" play. By taking to task those "poetasters" (his derogatory term for an inferior playwright) who have disgraced the theatrical profession with their immoral work, Jonson highlights the moral intentions of his play. His play will make a moral statement. And it will do so in line with the traditions of drama followed by classical dramatists, that is, the dramatists of ancient Greece. This connection to the past further indicates that the play we are about to read (or see) is a work of serious intellectual and moral weight.

But, in the Prologue, we see a different side of Jonson. This side of Jonson is boastful—this play was written in five weeks, says Jonson, all the jokes are mine, I think it's going to be a huge hit, and you are all going to laugh hysterically until your cheeks turn red. The Prologue sets a boisterous tone that the rest of the play will follow. So in these opening passages, Jonson begins to mix a serious intellectual and moral message with a boisterous, light- hearted and entertaining tone, reinforcing the explicit promise he makes in the Prologe "to mix profit with your pleasure." In other words, says Jonson, Volpone will be a work that will educate you but also entertain you at the same time.

Scholarship Blog


Post a Comment

<< Home

:: F R I E N D S ::
|| Purwarno Hadinata || Rozio || A. Fatih Syuhud || Rizqon Khamami || A Qisai || Lukman Nul Hakim|| Zamhasari Jamil|| Rini Ekayati|| Najlah Naqiyah || Zulfitri || Fadlan Achdan|| Tylla Subijantoro|| Mukhlis Zamzami|| Edward Ott|| Thinley|| Ahmed|| Dudi Aligarh|| Irwansyah Yahya|| Ikhsan Aligarh|| Zulfikar Karimuddin || Erdenesuvd Biraa ||

Scholarship Blog   My Gallery

Yunita Ramadhana Blog   Goresan Pena Yunita

    Subscribe in 

NewsGator Online   Subscribe in Rojo   Add The 

World of English Literature to Newsburst from CNET News.com   Add to Google     Subscribe in 

Bloglines   Add The World of English Literature to ODEO   Subscribe in 

podnova     Subscribe in a reader   Add to My AOL   Subscribe in FeedLounge   Add to netvibes   Subscribe 

in Bloglines   Add to The Free Dictionary   Add to Bitty Browser   Add to 

Plusmo   Subscribe in 

NewsAlloy   Add to Excite 

MIX   Add to Pageflakes   Add to netomat Hub   Subscribe to The World of English Literature   Powered by FeedBurner   I 

heart FeedBurner

eXTReMe Tracker