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Volpone disguised as a mountebank catches Celia's attention.
As his characterization suggests, the good work of elitism is no easy calling, set upon as we are by every manner of mountebank and false prophet, all claiming "excellence" as the basis of their evangel.
It is significant that a great beauty of the day, the Parisian courtesan Liane de Pougy, had this to say of the man, then in his mid-30's, who, as was his custom with the ladies whenever he was feeling flush, had sent a carriage filled with roses to meet her on her arrival in Florence: "There before me was a frightful gnome with red-rimmed eyes and no eyelashes, no hair, greenish teeth, bad breath, the manners of a mountebank and the reputation, nevertheless, of a ladies' man.
Early in the book, the author makes a profound statement of why in medicine, (and with some political and religious figures), the mountebank is so successful.
And he does this without calling for the uncritical readoption of a pre-modern religiosity or by succumbing to tasteless, New Age pseudo-spirituality (some puzzling words of admiration for the deplorable mountebank Osho in one interview notwithstanding), but by permitting the spirit of the past to breathe into and reanimate the present.
Forgive the sullen, willful ignoramus; Forgive the smug, the damfool, and the shameless, The thug, the cruel and manic patriotic, The snitch, the trembling, self-deceived neurotic, The seeker after nostrums, the tainted juror, The mountebank and scamming usurer, The hatred-monger, the, quester after gurus, The fixer, liar, the humbug with a screw loose.
This mountebank or "antifounder" of Covent Garden, a sort of underworld Earl of Bedford, "brought the first resort into this new plantation [and] drew such flocks of idle people .
A large crowd of reporters and financial columnists had gathered to watch a new presentation by the famous Wall Street mountebank.
Many elements of the play are inspired by mountebank entertainments, including the handkerchief, and a reading of the play through the lens of the mountebank, not only explains the character of Iago, but also shines a light on some troublesome issues such as the comic interruptions, Iago's demand for money, his motives, his unerring ability to charm and fool, the issue of direct address, and that powerful bit of linen.
The meanings I did find were: one who fakes, charlatan, fake, faker, fraud, humbug, mountebank, phoney, pretender, quack.
His talk about a new jesus attracts a street mountebank who wants to join him, capitalize on his idea and make money out of it.