The Alchemist Essay

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In this essay, Metzger discusses Jonson's symbolic use of the plague to satirize social dysfunction.

In 1610, London suffered another bad plague year. Those who could, left their city homes and fled to the clean air and relative safety of country life. It is this partial desertion of London that provides the time and setting for The Alchemist. Unlike his friend and contemporary, William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson incorporated topical locations and issues into his plays. When Lovewit leaves his home in the care of his butler, Jeremy, and flees to the country, thus setting up the action of the play, the master's actions are similar to those that were occurring in London at the time.

The importance of setting is the focus of Cheryl Lynn Ross's examination of The Alchemist in Renaissance Quarterly. Ross explained that "the world of Ben Jonson's Alchemist - its setting, its rogues and their...

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This section contains 1,499 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Alchemist Study Guide
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The Alchemist from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.