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Every Man in his Humours- Ben Jonson- Act I

Updated: Aug 14, 2021


The play begins in Knowell’s home. Old Knowell calls upon his son Edward Knowell through his servant Brainworm. Brainworm appears to be more loyal to Young Knowell than to his father (this will be witnessed as the story moves). Old Knowell appears to be a lot worried about his son. He also does not appreciate literature. He considers it “fruitless”. Master Stephen, Old Knowell’s stupid nephew arrives there and asks for the books on the sciences of hawking and hunting. This makes Old Knowell chide him. Meanwhile, a servant appears with a letter from Wellbred to Edward. Stephen does not like the servant, he almost goes to fight him but remains restrained by Old Knowell. Old Knowell in order to keep a track of his son’s companions reads his son’s letter. The letter sounds insanely profane and dissolute. He gets worried about Wellbred’s bad influence on his son. Yet he controls his worries as according to him, “affection makes a fool”. He then summons Brainworm and hands over the letter to be delivered to his son. He requests him not to reveal that he has read the letter. After Brainworm exits, he decides not to stop his son from his journey (the letter was an invite from Wellbred to Old Jewry to enjoy and meet new people).

Brainworm delivers the letter to Edward along with the truth that his father has read the letter already. Stephen also joins the conversation. As Edward continues to laugh harder by reading the letter, Stephen misunderstands that his cousin laughs at him and his life. Once the misunderstanding gets cleared Edward offers Stephen to join him in the journey to Old Jewry across the Moorfields to which he gladly accepts.

Mathew, another stupid just like Stephen but has a country touch, search for Captain Bobadill. He searches in Cob the water bearer’s house. With his enquiry he gets information that Bobadill is related to the King of fish and is asleep on Cob’s bench. Mathew is actually in love with Bridget Kitely the sister of Mr. Kitely, a clothing merchant. He also has the habit of reading poetry or verses books and tries to impress women which Cob considers disgusting. Once Mathew meets Bobadill they both seem to have the same interests. Bobadill is the type of person who self boasts a lot. Mathew complains about his petty fight with Downright, the half-brother of Wellbred. This makes Bobadill furious to show off with his sword movements. They then leave together to eat and to have a meet-up with Wellbred regarding his brother’s behavior.

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