Power, Possession, and Disease in Volpone College

Before delving into the tense relationship between power, possession, and disease in Jonson’s Volpone, it is first necessary to sift through the forbearing tensions between “profit and pleasure” that Jonson mentioned in the Prologue of the play. Firstly, the early forms of the text presented illustrations of the author as well as elaborate designs within and around the text. This alone implies the notion of mixing profit with pleasure because the intricate designs and illustrations are aesthetically pleasing as well as appearing to be a sort of marketing tactic for the text. The alluring qualities of these illustrations and designs seem intended to bring in the most profit while also being an aspect of pleasure in the material work itself. Jonson believed that plays were “poetry in performance” and early dramatists referred to ‘plays’ as ‘poems’” (Bednarz 91). With this in mind, the early materials of the play itself seemed very cognizant of the performative purpose of the play, and the elaborate artistry surrounding earlier versions seems to be a performance (as well as perhaps a marketing tactic) in itself.

However, the profit that has thus far been discussed is mainly monetary profit, but it is also interesting to think...

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