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The Alchemist

The Alchemist Widely performed and studied The Alchemist is one of the world s great comedies It was first performed in and its success kept it in the repertory until the closing of the theatres After the Re

Widely performed and studied, The Alchemist is one of the world s great comedies It was first performed in 1610, and its success kept it in the repertory until the closing of the theatres After the Restoration, it was one of the first plays to be revived and it has been produced with increasing frequency ever since.

  • Unlimited The Alchemist - by Ben Jonson
    114 Ben Jonson

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  1. Ben Jonson says:
    Benjamin Jonson was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor A contemporary of William Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays, particularly Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, which are considered his best, and his lyric poems A man of vast reading and a seemingly insatiable appetite for controversy, Jonson had an unparalleled breadth of influence on Jacobean and Caroline playwrights and poets A house in Dulwich College is named after him.See at enpedia wiki Ben_Jonson

Comment 584 on “The Alchemist

  1. Lisa says:
    Surprise I didn t expect to be able to give The Alchemist a rating above one star, as I didn t know that there was an exquisite alternative version, a prequel so to say, written several centuries before the rubbish novel, in 1610, showing the reverse development of human intelligence and wit from then until the arrival of Coelho, when sheepish worship of empty words and stupid comparisons became popular The omens however are provided much to my disturbance in the earlier text already, for in the [...]

  2. David Sarkies says:
    Making fun of the common people 5 January 2014 The general gist of this play among commentators on is that much of the humour is dated which is why they don t think the play works all that well It is not so much that people seem to hate the play, but rather feel that the content belongs to the past That, and the fact that Johnson is overshadowed by Shakespeare, though I would suggest that Johnson wrote in the generation after Shakespeare, meaning that while he was a contemporary, it seems that h [...]

  3. Anthony Vacca says:
    Ben Jonson is the Martin Amis of early 17th century English theater His prose is bloated with dense analogies and shows of learnedness that jarringly contrast with a preoccupation for criminal lowlifes and jokes about bodily secretions of both the sexy and non sexy persuasions Jonson also has a knack for ornamenting his rogue gallery of ne er do wells with handles such as Doll Common, Subtle, Face, Dapper, Tribulation and Epicure Mammon And, like Amis, unrelenting farce is pickled in picric sati [...]

  4. Jason says:
    A servant, a thief, and a whore walk into a bard that s essentially how this rollicking good comedy from Elizabethan England gets started The servant s master has gone out of town for a few months to escape the plague, and so the servant goes to a local establishment, finds a local troublemaker and prostitute, and convinces them to set up camp with him in his master s house, pretend to be an alchemist and his assistants, and rip people off It s a brilliant plan, and relies, of course, on the gul [...]

  5. Renée Paule says:
    After many years I ve just re read this lovely play I d forgotten most of the trickery and comedy Loved it.

  6. Jonfaith says:
    A wench is a rare bait, with which a manNo sooner s taken, but he straight firks mad.Funny that firk, it means many things to both expel and to fuck as well as become or carry I felt only the fervor of the former in my experience with brother Ben Jonson Anthony Vacca has noted here on GR that Jonson was the Marty Amis of the Elizabethan underbelly That might just be correct It didn t help my flailing Such wasn t pretty or becoming.

  7. Vicky N. says:
    Ben Jonson is a great writer who s only mistake must be to have been born at the same time as the great Shakespeare Full of satire and sexual innuendos, The Alchemist narrates the tale of two rogues, one the alchemist who promises people to turn all their items to gold and the other his helper Matched with a prostitute who fools around with them it makes a comic tale of lust and greed.

  8. Zeynep Güler says:
    the second line of this play reads i fart at thee and somehow it only gets better.

  9. Jesse says:
    It is really very curious to see that this play is famous, and highly regarded, than Epicoene, for in the latter the humor never strays from joking upon aspects of vanity which have not changed much throughout time but with The Alchemist, we see from the very title that the play is dated and the play itself lives up to the title, for although the humor is indeed focused on the various customers and their gullibility, caused by their greed, the hocus pocus means of bewildering these customers n [...]

  10. Sean says:
    The last er to write up this play complained that it was identical to Volpone in action and cast, a criticism clearly based on an intelligent reading of neither work The Alchemist had some of the same clever implications about sin and its relationship to self deception that you would expect from a committed moralist like Jonson, but it was bold enough to take London as its setting dangerous for satirical comedies of the age , and the ultimate justice of the action s culmination was far from thor [...]

  11. Alexander Rolfe says:
    Less accessible than most Elizabethan plays, but worth the effort The ending is especially fun I would really like to see it performed And soon before I forget all the explanations from the footnotes Parts of it remind me of various diets and cures being sold today Also, the prologue s reference to manners being called humours shows we re not the first generation to be caught blaming our behavior on our biology my brain made me do it.

  12. Suzette Kunz says:
    This was an interesting play, mostly because Jonson is a contemporary of Shakespeare who has been pretty much overshadowed by him He s no Shakespeare, but it was interesting This is basically a farce about servants overtaking the house of a Lord who is away They pretend to be alchemists, promising to turn metal into gold and all of these Londoners coming to them hoping to have all of their dreams come true.

  13. James Violand says:
    Hilarious Oh, if only we were able to better understand the spoken English of the early seventeenth century, this play would still draw the same crowds that it had in London The rapier wit is unassailable Jonson shows his brilliance as a playwright and as an expert in Ancient Greece and Rome, and does so in such an unassuming way, that all London adored him The fault with this play lies only in the manner of its presentation This volume is terrible It seems to have been published primarily to av [...]

  14. Wendy says:
    Isn t it weird how Shakespeare is the only pre 1800s Western European playwright most of us read In the mumble mumble years since high school, I ve probably read or attended performances of roughly a dozen plays by the Bard Apparently it took 100 monkeys typing non stop for 400 years or something to produce all those plays I need to hire some of them to write for me, too What about all those other playwrights working around the same time bunch of hacks, right Not worth our time Poor Ben Jonson I [...]

  15. Brendan Prawdzik says:
    Jonson, often bumped for Shakespeare is the funniest and most sophisticated Jacobean dramatist The Alchemist is his best play.

  16. Simon Mcleish says:
    Originally published on my blog here in March 2001.Like several others of Jonson s plays, The Alchemist is very long in this case the length is used to build up from a slowish start, gradually increasing in pace until the farcical denoument.A group of three tricksters, Face, Subtle and Dol Common, are using a borrowed house to get money through the pretended practise of alchemy, persuading people to pay to see wonders or to finance the supposed creation of gold from other metals The major proble [...]

  17. Andrew says:
    A huge waste of time I read Volpone and thought it was great, it was funny had interesting characters etc Then I read this one It is almost the exact same plot as Volpone, with almost the exact same characters, only that they characters are conning people in a different way The big problem is that so much of it s humor involve spoofing the science of alchemy which needs a great many footnotes to explain, and remember jokes aren t funny if they need to be explained Okay, imagine someone decided t [...]

  18. Lee says:
    Firstly, do get a copy with copious notes, otherwise, while you may recognise most of the words, the sentences will not make sense I speak from personal experience I enjoyed this play once I d got the notes The theme is very contemporary everyone in it is entirely motivated by self interest with the possible exception of Surly and nearly everyone is attempting to con everyone else It could almost be set in current times with Subtle pretending to be a self help think your way to riches guru inste [...]

  19. TAB says:
    Maybe I set the non Shakespeare so low that it surprised me, but this play eventually did pick up and I somewhat enjoyed it I sure don t get it and outside of maybe one or two for a bit, I didn t care for any of the characters nor am I entirely sure how they kept up the ruse of alchemy the whole time , but I could easily tell that performed this play would come alive and possibly mean something else to me entirely Not that I am likely to come across a production of it I would think in the next 1 [...]

  20. Phillip says:
    I d say this is one of Johnson s best plays It s a comedy, and it s very clearly a Johnson comedy his usual biting satire and subtle mockery of social conventions and pretensions makes this play particularly interesting for those familar with Renaissance social customs Unfortunately for many modern readers some of the satirical elements won t translate particularly well, but a good cast can pull it off without too much of a problem.

  21. Andy Myer says:
    Checked out this play by mistake, thinking it was the other alchemist If you can get through the victorian era slang, its kind of interesting

  22. Mac says:
    Unlike many of the other playwrights featured in the online course I am taking on Elizabethan and Jacobean theater, Ben Jonson was previously familiar to me Familiar by name, that is, for I had never read any of his plays When I started reading The Alchemist I found it ponderous and hard to follow It was longer than any of the other plays I ve been reading, with some scenes lasting for 50 or 60 pages on my iPhone screen But by the end I enjoyed it quite a bit It was by far the funniest play I ve [...]

  23. Tünde Ecem Kutlu says:
    Ben Jonson is amazing This is an extremely funny play I didn t necessarily enjoy the beginning because I couldn t really get used to the play s pace but towards the end it was so good I couldn t stop myself from reading it I think it was a very clever choice of Jonson s that the play goes in real time and it gives the feeling of being one of the guests cozened by Face and Subtle Since this is a city comedy, there were a lot of parts I didn t understand and the footnotes were extremely long but i [...]

  24. Tina Naples says:
    This play is very funny when read aloud It is full of satire about the gullible and greedy of Jonson s time Much has been written previously about Jonson s relationship with his contemporary I am currently reading a pamphlet about this which I will put up on here in case there is any interest It s quite an old one and will not be particularly easy to get hold of without access to a research library.

  25. Kathleen Stebbins says:
    I was reading this for a Renascence lit class, and I gotta say I was impressed It s really quite entertaining.Many of the themes are still relevant today, everyone enjoys a con man s game, and this is one such play but with them hustling multiple people with them coming and going almost on top of each other, it adds to the comedy Of everyone hustled, I enjoyed Dapper the most, poor guy had it almost the worst in that toilet the whole time.

  26. Amanda says:
    A city comedy before city comedies So full of plots, intrigues, farce and social inversion it can be difficult to keep it straight Led by the unholy triumvirate of Subtle, Farce and Doll, every class of London society gets a taste of their own comeuppance before the return of the master and the restoration of order Or is it

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