Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 258. Saturday, 24 April 1993.
Date: Friday, 23 Apr 93 10:25:17 EDT
Subject: Volpone's bastards?
I am hoping someone out there can help me to clarify an exchange
that comes early in _Volpone_ between Mosca and Corvino:
* * *
MOS He knows no man,
No face of friend, nor name of any servant,
Who 'twas that fed him last, or gave him drink:
Not those he hath begotten, or brought up
Can he remember.
COR Has he children?
Some dozen, or more, that he begot on beggars,
Gipsies, and Jews, and black-moors, when he was drunk.
Knew you not that, sir? 'Tis the common fable,
The dwarf, the fool, the eunuch are all his;
He's the true father of his family. (1.5.39-48)
* * *
Although I am predisposed to take these lines as simply another of
the lies that Mosca weaves in the course of his con, I have recently
seen a few references to them that suggest they might be taken at
face value--ie, that we ARE supposed to understand Volpone as the father
of Nano, Castrone, and Androgyno. Does anyone have suggestions for
James P. Saeger
University of Pennsylvania