By PH. D. James P. McGlone
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Additional info for Cliffsnotes Volpone & the Alchemist
The subplot action closely parallels the action of the main plot. In fact, it suggests the resolution of the main action. Unlike the main-plot characters, however, Sir Politic is guilty only of playacting offstage. He is really a very dull fellow, afraid of his own shadow, who dreams of an adventurous life. He is a fool, but a harmless one. His trouble with Peregrine is really brought on by his wife. She subjected Peregrine to a tongue-lashing that produced in the English tourist a desire to revenge himself on Sir Politic.
At first, Sir Politic sends word that grave affairs of state occupy him. Peregrine supposes that he is trying to make sausages without one of the ingredients. Finally, Sir Politic deigns to give the disguised Peregrine an audience. Sir Politic informs the merchant that he has been busily engaged in writing an apology to his wife; she still believes that Peregrine was a disguised prostitute! " Sir Politic becomes distraught. Alas, he has no such plot, only notes drawn from playbooks. Merchant Peregrine volunteers to have Sir Politic smuggled aboard a boat to escape capture.
There is excellent comic sense in the simplicity and single-mindedness of Volpone's character. His insatiable desire to trick people is characteristic of the figure of the fool. Volpone is a nobleman, but he shares the same human nature as the lowly fools of his household. They are naturally deformed; Volpone is the cause of his own deformation. The plot shows his fall from the position of Venetian nobleman to the social position of a fool. Volpone's character flaw, the desire to trick people, has brought him to the final curtain.
Cliffsnotes Volpone & the Alchemist by PH. D. James P. McGlone