The Dynamic Duo in Volpone Volpone

The Dynamic Duo in Volpone

While Mosca and Volpone, the “dynamic duo” in this play, share
many similarities, they are still different enough to compliment one
another. On one hand, both characters are alike in that they share a
common lust for deceit, making their living by tricking others. They take
delight in conjuring up and performing elaborate schemes in order to fool
people. This becomes a game for the two of them, which they both enjoy
playing immensely. Perhaps the common love of this game is what knits
Volpone’s heart so tightly to Mosca’s.
On the other hand, Mosca seems to be a little sharper and wittier
than Volpone. Where Volpone tends to be slightly dull or slow, Mosca
makes up for his lack by being ingenious for him. For example, in act 3.4,
Volpone boils in frustration because he cannot successfully persuade or
trick Lady Would-be into leaving his presence. He attempts to make her
leave several times, but is ineffective. Finally, at the height of his
despair, Mosca walks in, and with one breath, comes up with a brilliant
falsehood that sends Lady Would-be running out the door. This unfailing
ability of Mosca’s to invent schemes while under pressure is what makes
him so useful to Volpone and keeps the duo together. Mosca’s quick
thinking compliments Volpone’s slow wit.
Another characteristic that Mosca possesses in abundance that
Volpone does not necessarily have is the ability to flatter. Throughout the play, Mosca displays a clever ability
to play off of other people’s pride by inflating their egos so that they
will be consumed with their own vanity. Then, once the other person has
his eyes solely on himself, he is vulnerable to fall for any scheme of
Mosca’s. This tricky character plays this game of flattery with almost
every character in the play, including Volpone.
Because Volpone is not witty enough to see that his side-kick
treats him with the same craftiness that he uses on the clients, he is
also susceptible to Mosca’s enticing suggestions, and Mosca is able to
control a lot of Volpone’s life without Volpone realizing it. In fact,
Mosca is so skilled at what he does (or Volpone is so slow) that he is
able to control Volpone’s affairs while all the time making Volpone
believe that he is the one in control. It is this wittiness of Mosca, in
contrast to Volpone’s susceptiblility that makes the two
complementary to one another and thus gels this dynamic duo together.

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