Ben Johnson

By: Maxine Grippo


  • Born June 11, 1572 in Westminster, London England
  • He spent most of his life in London
  • Jonson first attended St. Martin's Lane, but then went to school in Westminster and was taught by William Canden
  • He worked for his stepfather as a bricklayer, but later he went into the army. He came back to England and two years later married Anne Lewis. Jonson worked as a playwrite and actor in 1597. Later that year he was imprisoned and killed one of the other actors, Gabriel Spencer and was sent to be killed for murder but escaped by pleading 'benefit of clergy'.
  • Jonson soon became popular when his play 'Every Man in His Humour' was preformed by Lord Chamberlin's Men (including William Shakespeare) in 1598. ( "Life of Ben Johnson")
  • Jonson was a created mostly plays such as Sejanus His Fall, Masque of Blacknesse, and Cynthia's Revels.
  • His patrons were Elizabeth Sidney and Lady Mary Wroth.
“Riches, the dumb god that giv'st all men tongues, That canst do nought, and yet mak'st men do all things; The price of souls; even hell, with thee to boot, Is made worth heaven!”(Ben Jonson Act 1 scene 2)

The Work

  • Valpone was written in 1606
  • This piece is unique because plays were relatively new during this time
  • I think Valpone is interesting because it's about this man who comes up with this elaborate plan to gain money and keep all of it in his family. But his plan doesn't turn our like he plans when he falls in love with the with the wife of one of the men trying to take his fortune.
  • This play is an example of humanism because it doesn't make humans out to be perfect, it's main character is mean and manipulative. It shows both sides of human nature by contrasting greed and love.


Beardsley, Aubrey. Valpone Adoring His Treasure. N.d. N.p.

"Volpone Quotes By Ben Jonson." Share Book Recommendations With Your Friends, Join Book Clubs, Answer Trivia. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2013. <>.

"The Life of Ben Jonson (1572-1637)." Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2013. <>.

1597, summer, and Jonson had a fixed engagement in the Admiral's Men. "Ben Jonson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2013. <>.

Jonson, Ben. "Full text of "Volpone; Or, the Fox"." Internet Archive: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music & Wayback Machine. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2013. <>.