The Alchemist (Jonson)

The Importance of Money in The Alchemist. 12th Grade

Money is one of the key themes in Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist, with all of the characters appearing to be influenced by the promise of wealth in some way. The conmen, Face and Subtle, hold money as being greatly important, as they trick all of the other men into giving them money. The men who are tricked are paying Face and Subtle for the promise of more wealth via the Philosopher’s Stone. The most important characters in exploring the theme of the importance of money in the play are Sir Epicure Mammon, Subtle and Face. The greed of Subtle and Face acts as the driving force of the play, as they continue to delve deeper and deeper into a world of misdirection and lies to steal money from the willing victims. Sir Epicure Mammon is an elderly man deluded by illusions of grandeur and ideas of spectacular riches which he talks about incessantly. We also see money being vitally important to other characters, such as Dapper, who is willing to make a fool of himself for the, ‘Queen of fairy,’ so that he may possess a spirit which will allow him to cheat in gambling. This shows how he places the obtaining of money above his morals and dignity, as he embarrasses himself and is so willing to trick others, whilst ironically being tricked...

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