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Every Man in His Humour

Every Man in His Humour

Ben Jonson, Robert N. Watson

ISBN: 9780713643978

A comedy set in the lively London of Ben Jonson's day, depicting the life of the merchant Kitely, surrounded by his family acquaintances, rogues and a merry magistrate. The excessive humours of boastful vanity, marital jealousy, naivety and suspicion make

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Like all of Jonson's city comedies, this play - here given in the 1616 Folio version, in which Jonson rewrote and set it in England, not Italy - is a kind of dramatised Do-It-Yourself kit on how to bluff one's way in Elizabethan London. Although Roman New Comedy, in which a crafty slave helps a wild youngster to marry the girl of his choice against his father's wishes, supplies Jonson with his basic plot, the world that he presents here is thoroughly contemporary and mundane. The characters' 'humours' - their driving obsessions - may vary, but all of them strive to represent something greater, nobler, cleverer than their real selves. The joke of the play, this editor suggests, is 'finally on all of us who unconsciously equate the universe with a story in which we play the hero'.
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