The Alchemist (Johnson): Act 4, Scene 5

Act 4, Scene 5 Summary of Act 4, scene 5Doll is needed for her act as Fairy Queen, so they must separate her from Mammon. She has been instructed to throw one of her religious fits. Face pretends to be worried that the Doctor will find out about their liaison, for that would delay the alchemical work by a month. Then there is the sound of an explosion in the laboratory as though the work has been ruined by the lovers. Face says the lady’s brother (Doll’s supposed brother) is on his way, and Mammon must leave quickly. Because of Mammon’s “close deeds of darkness” (line 43) the philosopher’s stone is lost to him. They tell him to give a donation to Bedlam for his sin. Face will send someone to collect this donation. Face and Subtle congratulate themselves that they have gotten rid of Mammon. Now they turn to the Spanish Count, who by now should have despoiled the widow. Commentary on Act 4, scene 5Mammon’s bubble is conveniently burst before Subtle has to produce the gold “projection.” They can blame the failure on Mammon’s lust, for only the pure can handle the philosopher’s stone. They set him up with Doll on purpose for this. They have Mammon’s goods and money and delay the time of the next projection for a month later, giving them enough time to resell his goods and depart. There is little pity for Mammon, for he gets what he deserves. Subtle and Face are united for the moment, but we know underneath they are ready to stab each other in the back. How much longer can this alliance hold?