Alchemy in Ben Jonson's The Alchemist

Why does Jonson choose to depict the art/science of alchemy in The Alchemist and why does his satire extend through various social classes? Sir Epicure Mammon wants to acquire the philosopher’s stone so he can live a life of luxury. Tribulation and Ananias are puritans who want to acquire wealth for their sect and prevail over their heretical enemies. Abel Drugger wants to set jup a tobacco shop and by the art of magic learn how to attract customers. Dapper, a lawyer’s clerk, wants to use alchemy to win at gambling. What does alchemy’s presence in the play tell us about the relationship between money and pleasure, magic and religion, social rank and power, etc.?

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