All 30 entries tagged Paraphrase

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December 31, 2007

You hear me brief.

i.e. That’s all I have to say.  

Note the potential for word-play on the meaning of ‘brief’: (a) succinctly; (b) 'a summary of the facts of a case, with reference to the points of law supposed to be applicable to them, drawn up for the instruction of counsel conducting the case in court' (  Volpone has concisely summarised the key facts of the case before the Avocatori.

since we all can hope | Nought but a sentence, let’s not now despair it.

Since we can all only but hope for a sentence upon me, let’s not make it a disappointing one (an ‘ironic hyperbole’, as Brian Parker puts it, 288).


A willing cuckold


A mythical three-natured beast (traditionally part lion, part goat, part serprent) (Parker ed., 288).


(a) menial servant; (b) rogue (Parker ed., 288).

my substance shall not glue you, | Nor screw you, into a family.

My riches shall not be used to insinuate you into a good family by either sympathy (O.E.D., glue, 2) or guile […]. (Parker ed., 288).

Your match

Mosca’s marital match with the daughter of the socially ambitious 4 Avocatore.

I am silent; ‘twas not this | For which you sent, I hope.

I will be silent; it was not silence for which you sent, I assume.  i.e. the Avocatori sent for Mosca so that he could speak to them and thereby clear the ‘misty’ confusion. 

Note the potential interpretation of this threat of silence as a parodying of Iago’s oath at the close of Othello, when he swears that ‘From this time forth [he] never will speak word’ (V.ii.304).

cry not so loud.

Keep your voice down.  Cf. Plautus, Mostellaria, or The Haunted House, III.i (Loeb ed., III, 351) (Parker ed., 286)

First I’ll be hanged.

I’ll be hanged before I give you half.  

Ironically, this is not so far from the truth.  This line anticipates the all-or-nothing attitude that prompts Volpone's dramatic 'uncasing' at V.xii.85, despite the threat of his immediate punitive sentencing by the Avocatori, in order to thwart Mosca's victory.

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