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Word Count: 1,057
Wither wither Is shame fled human breasts Is that which ever was a cause for life Now placed beneath the basest circumstance And modesty an exile made for money This is the strongest statement of the plays philosophy Knowing that Jonson put these words into the mouth of Celia proves what a vital role she plays in portraying his moral message Whilst protagonist Volpone a hedonist indulges in as many pleasures as possible often pursuing them vigorously Celia is the exact antithesis Her self-denial and self-restraint make her a perfect foil for Volpone as she exposes his complete lack of virtues A clear example of this is Volpones attempted seduction of her The turning point of the play comes when she refuses Volpones advances denying him the lascivious pleasures he describes in his speech Celia seems willing to do anything to avoid dishonour making her character flat and predictable to ready to sacrifice herself to be believable However this is Jonsons intention He portrays her as an ethereal saintly ideal Celias love is compared to heaven a plot of paradise She is described as a better angel She is someone whom the audience should aspire to be Conversely a contemporary audience could instead see her willingness to subject herself to Corvinos harsh dictates and abuse as being more weak than strong But it is her inner moral sense even though it is dictated by seventeenth century conventions on femininity indicated when she refuses Volpone against her husbands express wish that shows her true strength of will Her perfection is starkly contrasted by the grotesque reactions she provokes from Volpone and Corvino The religious imagery Volpone used to describe his riches he uses for a new better angel for Celia The gold plate and jewels which Volpone addresses in tones of worship at the beginning of the play Volpone gives to Mosca so that he can use them to woo Celia the all-important gold
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