Do you think The Alchemist by Ben Jonson is an allegory?

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An allegory can be defined as a narrative which is interpreted to reveal an implicit meaning. Jonson's play The Alchemist is certainly open to such an interpretation. In this play, Jonson ruthlessly exposes the rampant greed, moral corruption, and obsession with social status in a hierarchical society.

Through the various...

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An allegory can be defined as a narrative which is interpreted to reveal an implicit meaning. Jonson's play The Alchemist is certainly open to such an interpretation. In this play, Jonson ruthlessly exposes the rampant greed, moral corruption, and obsession with social status in a hierarchical society.

Through the various characters in the play, Jonson provides a withering critique of Elizabethan England. A great example comes in the form of the wonderfully-named Sir Epicure Mammon, whose very name is allegorical. An epicure is an old-fashioned name for a "lover of pleasure." Additionally, in the New Testament, "mammon" is generally thought to refer to wealth worshipped as an idol.

Sir Epicure is so obsessed with maintaining his life of hedonistic excess that he readily agrees to invest substantial sums of money in Subtle's crazy scheme to produce the philosopher's stone and the elixir of life. In the ludicrous and entertaining character of Sir Epicure, Jonson skillfully epitomizes—in one allegorical figure—the headlong pursuit of riches and the corresponding neglect of spiritual values which he sees all around him in Elizabethan society.

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Absolutely!

Ben Johnson's comedy The Alchemist is a direct blow to society's tendency to believe in anything that is advertised, especially everything that is dubbed to be a quick money maker. Even today people rush to buy things that supposedly help them create business, sell things, or make quick cash. In Johnson's comedy everyone from every walk of life seemed to be enthralled by the possibility of having metal turn into gold, for acquiring the sorcere's stone, and for having things just by asking some magical power. This happened with everyone from a Lord to a butler. Ambition runs everywhere and affects everyone equally. Therefore, The Alchemist" is indeed an allegory to hunan irrational behavior and excessive ambition.

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