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Volpone and the Alchemist
     

Volpone and the Alchemist

by Ben Jonson
 

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Much-studied and frequently performed, these comedies by the great Elizabethan playwright Ben Johnson satirize the greed, mendacity, gullibility, and pretension of seventeenth-century London society. Both plays abound in colorful characters, ingenious plotting, biting wit, and sharp insight into human nature.
In Volpone (1605), a crafty rich man attempts

Overview

Much-studied and frequently performed, these comedies by the great Elizabethan playwright Ben Johnson satirize the greed, mendacity, gullibility, and pretension of seventeenth-century London society. Both plays abound in colorful characters, ingenious plotting, biting wit, and sharp insight into human nature.
In Volpone (1605), a crafty rich man attempts to augment his wealth by feigning a mortal illness. His wealthy neighbors, spying the opportunity for an inheritance, vie with each other in courting the “dying” man’s favor. The Alchemist (1610) comprises a likewise avaricious cast, headed by a butler and prostitute who join forces with a swindler claiming to possess the philosopher's stone. The trio hosts a parade of eager victims whose hypocrisy and greed place them on a moral footing similar to that of the tricksters. Both plays offer sparkling examples of their author's novel approach to satire and his distinctive blend of savagery, humor, moralism, and a powerful sense of the absurd.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780486436302
Publisher:
Dover Publications
Publication date:
09/10/2004
Series:
Dover Thrift Editions Series
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
739,040
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

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