Act IV

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Last Updated January 31, 2024.

Act 4, Scene 1

Face greets Mammon, telling him Subtle is working on the stone. He warns Mammon not to mention religion in front of Dol, as it could trigger her mental illness.

Mammon woos—and eventually proposes to—Dol, expanding at length on the life of luxury she will live when he is in possession of the stone. Face complains that they speak much too loudly, reminding Mammon again not to mention religion. Mammon gives Face more money and exits with Dol.

Act 4, Scene 2

When Face opens the door to Kastril and Dame Pliant, he is still dressed as “Lungs.” Kastril does not recognize him and asks after Captain Face. Face hurries off to change, leaving Kastril and Pliant with Subtle.

Kastril asks Subtle to tell Pliant’s fortune; he agrees but explains that to do so, he needs to “taste” her lips. Subtle kisses Dame Pliant, and when Face returns in disguise, Kastril encourages him to follow suit.

Subtle quietly lets Face know that the Spanish don is at the door. Face heads off to intercept him while Subtle distracts Kastril and Dame Pliant.

Act 4, Scene 3

Face is besotted with Dame Pliant and argues that Subtle is too old for her. Subtle counters that, like all the spoils of their dealings, she should be somehow shared.

The Spaniard, who is actually Surly in disguise, arrives on the scene. He pretends to speak no English, so Face and Subtle enjoy mocking him, convinced he cannot understand what they are saying.

They panic when they remember the Spaniard had come to see Dol, who is already engaged with Mammon. With some difficulty, Face convinces Subtle to offer Dane Pliant instead.

Act 4, Scene 4

Face introduces Kastril and Pliant to the Spaniard, telling them that he is destined to become her husband. Pliant initially resists, stating that she cannot forgive the Spanish people for the 1588 failed attack of the Spanish Armada, which took place two years before she was born. 

Threatened with physical violence by her brother, Pliant changes her mind and is introduced to the disguised Surly, who proclaims her beauty. They leave for the garden, with Face acting as a translator.

Act 4, Scene 5

Dol fakes a fit, and Subtle furiously confronts Mammon, rebuking him that his immoral conduct has destroyed all the work they had done on the Philosopher’s Stone. Face warns the distraught Mammon that Dol’s brother has come to collect her. 

Face demands a hundred pounds in compensation, to which the remorseful Mammon readily agrees. Subtle and Face are delighted to have freed themselves of Mammon and, relieved, begin to make crude jokes about Pliant and the Spaniard.

Act 4, Scene 6

Surly reveals his true identity and intentions to Pliant. Although he is critical of Pliant for falling into Subtle’s trap, he professes his love for her and makes a marriage proposal. When Subtle attempts to rob him, Surly punches him and, removing his disguise, tells him he intends to have him arrested. 

When Face arrives, Surly makes a long speech about his dishonest behavior. Face takes advantage of the monologue to make his getaway. In his stead, Surly vows that at least Subtle will be forced to pay for his crimes.

Act 4, Scene 7

Face convinces Kastril that Surly is a conman and that he should try out his argumentative skills on the false Spaniard. Drugger arrives, and Face has him play along, telling Kastril that Surly owes him money. 

Then, Ananias arrives, declaring that the order has agreed that producing and using the counterfeit coins is legal. He joins the others in attacking Surly, condemning the immorality and evil of the Spanish. Surly leaves with Kastril in pursuit.

Face sends Drugger to buy a Spanish disguise so he can pass off as the “real” Spanish nobleman and win Dame Pliant. Subtle refuses to mint the money for Ananias, claiming that he is worried for the reputation of their house following their infiltration by Surly, who he claims is a Spanish spy. Ananias leaves.

Face plans to dress up in the Spanish suit that Drugger brings and to have Dame Pliant for himself. Subtle, of course, objects, unwilling to allow Face to steal their shared prize. 

Adding to the chaos, Dol arrives, announcing that Lovewit has come back early. Face quickly changes back into his butler’s outfit, directing Subtle and Dol to grab whatever they can carry into trunks.

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Act V