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By PH. D. James P. McGlone

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He reports optimistically on the state of the philosopher's stone. Color, heat, and so on are all correct; one can expect "projection" shortly. ) Subtle, we are informed, is at his prayers, for devotion on the part of the practitioner is one of the requirements for the success of alchemy. In a number of long speeches, Sir Epicure describes the good, rich, and full life he intends to lead as soon as Subtle has supplied him with the stone. Lungs is suitably impressed and successfully plays the part of a servitor simple enough to go through the trials and tribulations of his craft to supply the stone for someone else's use.

Face now takes over, and while Drugger wanted to give Subtle a crown, he wheedles a portague (about fourteen crowns). Drugger leaves after requesting that the doctor check his almanac and mark his unlucky days. Sir Epicure Mammon is on the way. Mammon is the firm's biggest customer. For him, Subtle has been preparing the philosopher's stone, and for the last few days, Sir Epicure has been acting as if the stone were already in his possession. Commentary The act falls into three parts: the quarrel between the conspirators, followed by two passages that show Subtle and Face cooperating to cheat their victims.

Mosca errs in character judgment because he wants all of the money for himself. He becomes greedy and thereby loses his perspective. Mosca was invincible as long as he was a parasite, but when it becomes possible for him to realize his ambition, his human nature comes to the front. It is this, not the intelligence of the courts, that brings him down. Jonson does not leave the punishment to the courts alone. The failure of a ruse conceived by these two consummate artists is comic punishment; they are their own executioners.

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