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A comedy by Jonson, performed by the King's Men 1610, printed 1612, by many considered the greatest of his plays.

Lovewit, during an epidemic of the plague, leaves his house in Blackfriars in London in charge of his servant, Face. The latter, with Subtle, a fake alchemist and astrologer, and Dol Common, his consort, use the house as a place for fleecing a variety of victims. To Sir Epicure Mammon, a voluptuous knight, and Ananias and Tribulation Wholesome, fanatical Puritans, they promise the philosophers' stone, by which all metals may be turned to gold; to Dapper, a lawyer's clerk, a charm to win at gambling, bestowed by his aunt, the Queen of Fairy; to Drugger, a tobacconist, a magical way of designing his shop to improve trade; to Kastril, a country bumpkin who wants to learn the language of quarrelling, a rich marriage for his widowed sister, Dame Pliant. Surly, a gamester, sees through the fraud and attempts to expose it by presenting himself disguised as a Spaniard, but the dupes refuse to listen and drive him away. Lovewit's unexpected return puts Subtle and Dol to flight, and Face makes peace with his master by resourcefully marrying him to Dame Pliant.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).

Reference entries

Ben Jonson (1572—1637) poet and playwright