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December 30, 2007
Mosca, servant to Volpone.
Brian Parker’s introduction to the revised Revels edition of Volpone (1999) succinctly highlights the significance of Mosca’s name: ‘Mosca, the fly, is the final link in the chain of predators [featured in Volpone]. Topsell (p. 226) notes that “Foxes are annoyed with many enemies; and to begin with the least, the small flies, called Gnats, do much trouble and infect them…” […]' (Parker ed., 15).
'The name “Musca” is applied frequently to parasites in Latin […], and later writers also use it for demonic familiars: “Urspergensis saith that the Devil did very frequently appear in the form of a Fly; whence it was that some of the Heathens called their familiar spirit Musca or Fly”--a detail that, as Knoll points out, fits in well with the play’s ironic punning on “possession” [e.g. ‘You are dispossessed’; V.xii.35].’ (Parker ed., 15).