We're talking, of course, about Ben Jonson's most popular , The Alchemist. He apparently played the leading role of Hieronimo in The Spanish Tragedy. Dol contrives a fit and there is an 'explosion' from the 'laboratory'. You've never even heard of Ben Jonson? Pug pleads his case, however, and Satan sends him into the world, specifically to plague an eccentric and foolish gentleman named Fabian Fitzdottrel. Jonson appears first in the employment of Philip Henslowe, the exploiter of several troupes of players, manager, and father-in-law of the famous actor, Edward Alleyn.
Familiar by name, that is, for I had never read any of his plays. We know nothing beyond this of Jonson's domestic life. As Jonson has been much misrepresented in this matter, let us quote his own words as to humour. 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. The Alchemist focuses on what happens when one human being seeks advantage over another.
Both master and servant are always on the lookout for how to get ahead in life, regardless of ethical boundaries. Written by Ben Jonson, it was first produced in 1606 and billed as a comedy, although it also includes elements of tragedy and even animal fable Volpone is Italian for 'fox'. I am currently reading a pamphlet about this which I will put up on here in case there is any interest. Problem is, Doll is getting busy with Mammon. Publication history A quarto of the play appeared in 1612 published by , printed by and sold by John Stepneth.
First performed in 1610 and set in the same contemporary London time period, the plot revolves around scheming con artists during their master's absence from the house. 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 Making fun of the common people 5 January 2014 The general gist of this play among commentators on Goodreads is that much of the humour is dated which is why they don't think the play works all that well. The theaters were shut down as a result. This play is not about love or feelings at all. The original was played at the , with and in the central roles, from September to November 2006. Those who come to judge it end up in trouble.
From entries in Henslowe's Diary, a species of theatrical account book which has been handed down to us, we know that Jonson was connected with the Admiral's men; for he borrowed 4 pounds of Henslowe, July 28, 1597, paying back 3s. With one exception The Case Is Altered , these early plays are known, if at all, only by their titles. And, as icing on the cake, it contains an introductory argument in the form of an acrostic poem. Among his masques were Hymenaei 1606 , Hue and Cry After Cupid 1608 , The Masque of Beauty 1608 , and The Masque of Queens 1609. I was also fortunate enough to see a performance of this play when I was in London last year, and have finally gotten around to on it. To confine our attention to the drama, Jonson objected to the amateurishness and haphazard nature of many contemporary plays, and set himself to do something different; and the first and most striking thing that he evolved was his conception and practice of the comedy of humours.
The play opens with a violent argument between Subtle and Face concerning the division of the riches which they have, and will continue to gather. The central figure is Morose, who hates noise yet lives in the centre of London, and who, because of his decision to marry a woman only because he is duped into believing she is silent, exposes himself to a fantastic cacophony of voices, male, female and — epicene. Ben Jonson: The Critical Heritage. But when Face dangles before him the prospect of marriage to a younger woman, his master eagerly accepts. Even the word humour seems to have been employed in the Jonsonian sense by Chapman before Jonson's use of it. 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. This text is based on the only authoritative text, from the 1616 folio Works.
Kastril is given a lesson in quarrelling, and the widow captivates both Face and Subtle. The trio promises one thing to one person, then another thing to another person, and as happens in any good comedy, the lies begin to collide, contradict each other, and reveal holes in their false identities, and the whole thing threatens at every moment to blow up in their faces. The play's end sees Subtle and Dol resume their original pairing, while Face resumes his role as housekeeper to a wealthy master. The play continued onstage as a during the Commonwealth period; after the , it belonged to the repertory of the King's Men of , who appear to have performed it with some frequency during their first years in operation. Everyone gets made fun of - knights, priests, alchemists, lords, thieves, idiots, the whole shebang. Lovewit's neighbours tell him that his house had many visitors during his absence.
On his release, in disgrace with Henslowe and his former associates, Jonson offered his services as a playwright to Henslowe's rivals, the Lord Chamberlain's company, in which Shakespeare was a prominent shareholder. Sir Epicure Mammon and his cynical sidekick, , are next through the door. Significantly, none of the three is severely punished the collapse of their scheme aside. Over the course of his career, he whipped up boatloads of popular plays, , and poems. I know he wrote some historical tragedies based on classical Rome, plus other comedies and satires. Then I read this one. It is the opposite of sentimental.