The Alchemist Questions and Answers

The Alchemist

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...

Latest answer posted March 22, 2019, 7:10 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

A comedy of humors is a dramatic genre that displays characters that seem to be out of sorts or unbalanced. The characters are presented that way because they have one overriding character trait....

Latest answer posted June 21, 2019, 12:58 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

Overall, I would say that Santiago's father acted calmly. He didn't get angry or abusive. He didn't start yelling at his son. He didn't get insulting, nor did he "put his foot down" and mandate...

Latest answer posted April 18, 2016, 10:05 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

This hilarious satire on the greed and avarice within humans contains two female figures: Doll, the whore who works with Subtle and Face to con the various individuals that come to them, and Dame...

Latest answer posted January 4, 2013, 7:36 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The title is significant because everyone has it in them to change their lives, to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals. In that sense, each and every one of us, according to the governing...

Latest answer posted November 24, 2019, 6:50 am (UTC)

5 educator answers

The Alchemist

In this story, a man sends his son to visit the wisest man in the world to learn the secret of happiness. The son is surprised to find the wise man living a life of sensual pleasure with music,...

Latest answer posted October 22, 2019, 12:15 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

Santiago is a young man who herds sheep for a living at the beginning of Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. However, the universe has different plans for the boy than to allow him to remain on this...

Latest answer posted October 22, 2016, 3:34 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

The Alchemist has quite a few characters. Many of them are stock characters who do nothing more than provide motivation for Santiago to go somewhere, do something, or say something. For example,...

Latest answer posted August 14, 2018, 2:06 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

[eNotes editors are only permitted to answer one question per posting. Additional questions must be posted separately.] In The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, the old man (Melchizedek, the King of...

Latest answer posted May 19, 2011, 9:20 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

It seems a bit unusual to address themes in an ironically comic satire along with the themes in one of literture’s greatest tragedies, but, ironically, there is some overlap of themes. In Ben...

Latest answer posted July 5, 2011, 4:45 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

Ben Jonson makes fun of numerous sectors of English society but is especially harsh on those whose behavior reveals their hypocrisy. Class conflict and mobility was one prominent issue in his day....

Latest answer posted March 23, 2020, 8:42 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

Santiago goes to the gypsy woman because he is troubled by a dream he has had twice. He wants it interpreted. First, the encounter with the gypsy woman is significant because Santiago has to...

Latest answer posted June 11, 2019, 7:42 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

"The Alchemist" by Ben Jonson is, I think, one of the most perfect comedies ever written. Kenneth Tynan, the veteran theatre critic, described is as "good episodic play ...bead after bead, the...

Latest answer posted March 11, 2009, 9:18 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The alchemist tells the story of the poet and the soldier probably to illustrate the idea that sometimes we can influence our world's in unintended ways. On the surface, it would seem that the...

Latest answer posted October 5, 2009, 9:02 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Ben Jonson prided himself on his skills of design as a dramatist, and certainly the design of his play The Alchemist reveals the kind of complex unity of which he was justly proud. Samuel Taylor...

Latest answer posted September 2, 2011, 5:37 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

While speaking with Melchizedek, the King of Salem, Santiago remembers that his grandfather had told him that butterflies, crickets, and four-leaf clovers are good omens. Melchizedek validates that...

Latest answer posted August 21, 2016, 7:49 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

Achieving one's personal legend is fraught with difficulty and challenges for everyone. Following your desires is going to have unexpected hurdles that must be surmounted. The tribal war is just...

Latest answer posted October 11, 2018, 5:58 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

The king you refer to in the story is Melchizedek, who also calls himself the King of Salem. Melchizedek is the one who encourages Santiago to pursue his destiny and to find his treasure. He gives...

Latest answer posted September 19, 2017, 7:18 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The wind is an inspiration to Santiago. If I read you correctly, your question is a reference to the text below: That wind had brought the Moors, yes, but it had also brought the smell of the...

Latest answer posted October 10, 2017, 2:07 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The characters in Ben Jonson’s play The Alchemist all have significant names, as the following list of the dramatis personae (“persons of the drama”) implies: SUBTLE, the Alchemist: Subtle’s name...

Latest answer posted May 24, 2012, 3:39 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The Alchemist by Ben Jonson is a very comedic play. The premise of the play, that a rich man's butler has commandeered his house for use as a center for organized crime, is amusing in itself. The...

Latest answer posted October 16, 2019, 6:55 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

In Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, Santiago is a young boy with whose life consists of dreaming of finding a treasure and tending to his sheep. He has no sense that the universe holds any mysteries...

Latest answer posted October 16, 2017, 12:37 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

What Paulo Coelho means is that through erosion ("the force of flowing water"), whatever is buried may be brought to light (like finding gemstones such as the emerald underground). Time...

Latest answer posted September 15, 2008, 4:09 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Sir Epicure Mammon, one of the most memorable characters in Ben Jonson’s play The Alchemist, is associated with excess and with a commitment to material pleasures. These traits are especially...

Latest answer posted May 24, 2012, 12:26 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

To an extent, this is an opinion question, and either option could be supported. I think defending the destination option is more difficult, so I think the better option is to say that the journey...

Latest answer posted July 25, 2016, 2:40 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

There are many aspects which make this play a comedy - the theme of "gulling" or deceiving was very popular in Johnson's times and the audience is able to enjoy the "fleecing" of the central...

Latest answer posted March 18, 2009, 12:09 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

A discussion of Ben Jonson's The Alchemist as an allegory is, in truth, a little difficult. The reason why this is so is that The Alchemist is in the genre of farce not that of allegory. However,...

Latest answer posted August 7, 2010, 10:50 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

This question is asking for a general characterization of Fatima. She is one of my favorite characters from the novel because of what she stands for and represents. I also love her as a character...

Latest answer posted February 7, 2019, 2:55 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

Near the beginning of Santiago's quest for his Personal Legend, his father tries to dissuade his son from travel. He throws up impediments that might have changed Santiago's mind; claims such...

Latest answer posted March 24, 2008, 11:22 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Ben Jonson, who lived during the time of Shakespeare and who was both Shakespeare’s friend and friendly rival, was one of the great innovators in English dramatic comedy. Whereas Shakespeare’s...

Latest answer posted August 25, 2011, 12:22 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

MASTER LOVEWIT. The aptly named master of the house, he is quick to overlook the chicanery in his house when he sees the chance for romance and marriage with Dame Pliant.ABEL DRUGGER. Drugger is a...

Latest answer posted March 16, 2011, 2:56 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

"The Alchemist" revolves around deception and an understanding that in this society there were the very rich, and the very poor. "For most purposes, there were two classes: the...

Latest answer posted August 30, 2008, 8:55 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Santiago began his treasure hunt after dreaming that he would find one if he went to the Great Pyramids. It took several years for him to get there, but he did make it to Egypt. When digging a...

Latest answer posted April 2, 2008, 9:15 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The Alchemist is a contemporary classic by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. The story is a modern fable about following one’s dreams. The protagonist, Santiago, prepares for his journey through life...

Latest answer posted January 23, 2020, 6:42 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Alchemist

At the beginning, Santiago is afraid to trust his dreams/intuition and so he seeks the aid of a gypsy woman to interpret a dream for him. Her words are actually a confirmation of what Santiago...

Latest answer posted August 7, 2008, 3:46 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

As in much of this story, this question is a matter of interpretation. Keeping in mind the nature of the story's theme, i.e., identifying and following one's personal legend, the reader can come to...

Latest answer posted October 5, 2009, 9:00 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The village where Santiago meets Melchizedek is described in a way that shows the regular day-to-day lives of other citizens in Santiago's world. In particular, the shopkeepers whom he deals with...

Latest answer posted November 27, 2018, 1:59 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

What is correct to say about the satire in Jonson's play is that he is satirizing fools, crooks, and swindlers. Biographers have not succeeded in definitively identifying Jonson's personal opinion...

Latest answer posted June 26, 2012, 11:53 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Although there are certain elements of a morality tale in this play, overwhelmingly there are far more elements that make this play a comedy - the theme of "gulling" or deceiving was very popular...

Latest answer posted April 8, 2009, 1:03 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

When the boy first arrives in the oasis, he notices that there are many more women and children than there are men. The camel driver explains that oases are neutral territories and reserved as...

Latest answer posted June 6, 2016, 2:12 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Sheep are usually thought of as mindless followers. They exist solely to produce wool and not much else. Sheep are also dependent on a shepherd to keep them together as a flock and to lead them to...

Latest answer posted July 31, 2016, 11:33 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The old man gave Santiago stones from a jeweled breastplate which he called Urim and Thummim. These were considered to be tools of divination (providing divine answers to questions). While the...

Latest answer posted May 22, 2008, 11:18 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Overall, Sasntiago's dilemma is how to achieve his "Personal Legend". After dreaming that he would find a treasure at the Pyramids of Egypt, Santiago first struggles with whether or not...

Latest answer posted April 28, 2008, 5:10 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

A person's Personal Legend is essentially his/her pursuit of his/her destiny. The Personal Legend can be achieved when a person fulfills the complete measure of his or her creation. He/she has...

Latest answer posted April 20, 2018, 1:23 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

One of Coelho's basic points in the novel is that individuals sometimes cannot achieve their dreams because people in their lives have not been a source of encouragement, but rather a source of...

Latest answer posted July 6, 2013, 1:53 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Santiago's father claims that any travelers that he has seen have all been more interested in the past than in the present. They travel to a place and then begin to romanitcize about what it would...

Latest answer posted April 22, 2008, 11:51 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The all is one metaphor has to do with one of the underlying themes in The Alchemist. Namely, that we all have the ability to tap into a "universal force" for understanding. This notion that the...

Latest answer posted October 6, 2009, 7:30 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

John Henry of the University of Edingburgh explains the Emerald Tablet this way: "The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, one of the most important alchemical texts. It should be noted that...

Latest answer posted May 21, 2007, 10:02 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The old man comes to Santiago because it is the old man's destiny to help guide people who are trying to realize their destinies. The old man tells the story of the miner who believed it was his...

Latest answer posted July 28, 2019, 3:11 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The offstage activities in The Alchemist make it easier for gullible characters to be duped and for the plot to unfold along comic lines. (Much of the humor comes from dramatic irony—the audience...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2021, 3:16 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

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