Language In The Alchemist

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Ben Jonson creates in The Alchemist a vivid picture of different social classes which are satirized with the help of the elaborate language and through the use of the alchemy as a metaphor for - among others - linguistic transformations. This paper attempts to demonstrate how different cants, specialized vocabularies and linguistic alchemy overlap, interact or clash with each other bringing to light the real social desires and aspirations. The detailed study of the conversations between the tricksters and the rising middle-class from the one side and between the tricksters and the Puritans from the other side reveals implicit and explicit interpretation of the dialogues by both parties involved and by the reader along with the layered linguistic devices used in the play to enrich its satire and to present the dominant language of the play - the language of sin. Introduction In his „Epigram VI“ Ben Jonson wrote: „If all you boast of your great be true, / Sure, willing poverty lives most in you.“ Alchemists promised to transform metal into gold, language, in its turn, is able to transmute the ordinary things into rich imageries. Alchemists need a philosopher´s stone - a transforming agent - to make their promises true, humans need the language to form his fantasies or, on the contrary, to reveal the harsh truth. This juxtaposition of a pseudo-science and the natural language is tied by Ben Jonson in The Alchemist and the real alchemy he uses in the play is the linguistic one.
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