The Alchemist (Jonson)

The Alchemist (Jonson) Modern analogues

The Alchemist speaks directly to many modern concerns, and it has influenced directly or indirectly many succeeding plays and films. Below is a selection of works that may be interesting to view or read and then compare with Jonson's play. One also should recall Ben Jonson’s own Volpone (1606).

Some of these works focus on the theatricality and farcical nature of the play; others, on the nature of conmanship. All should provide interesting reading or viewing and should furnish the student with some interesting analogues to Jonson's play.


David Maurer, The Big Con (1942)

Herman Melville, The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade (1857)

Jim Thompson, The Grifters (1963)


Ray Cooney, See How They Run (1943)

Michael Frayn, Noises Off (1982)


David Mamet (writer/director), Heist (2001)

David Mamet (writer/director), House of Games (1987)

George Roy Hill (director), The Sting (1973)

Ridley Scott (director), Matchstick Men (2003)