The three plays collected in this volume depict the faults, errors and foibles of ordinary people with exuberant humour, savage satire and acute observations. Volpone portrays a rich Venetian who pretends to be dying so that his despised acquaintances will flock to his bedside with extravagant gifts in hope of an inheritance. The Alchemist also deals with greed and gullibility, as a rascally trio of confidence tricksters, claiming to have the legendary Philosopher’s Stone, fool a series of victims who are hoping to make some easy money. And in a wonderfully energetic portrait of Jacobean life, Bartholomew Fair shows a diverse group of Londoners sampling the delights and temptations of the Fair – and the traders, prostitutes and cutpurses who set out to exploit them.
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Ben Jonson was born in 1572, the posthumous son of a minister, and, thanks to an unknown patron, was educated at Westminster. After this he was for a brief time apprenticed to his stepfather as a bricklayer. He served as… More about Ben Jonson