The Alchemist (Jonson): Act 4, Scene 4

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Summary of Act 4, scene 4

 
Face and Subtle join in persuading the widow to take a Spanish lover. Her brother Kestrel agrees it would be good for her to be a “Spanish countess” (line 3). Face begins to praise everything Spanish. Subtle tells her that her horoscope shows she must be a Spanish countess, but the lady objects since Spain was an old enemy of England’s. Her brother threatens violence if she does not have the Spaniard. She gives in, and Subtle tells her that it is the Spanish custom for women to kiss men first. Surly and Dame Pliant retire to the garden.
 
Commentary on Act 4, scene 4
 
Both brother and sister are equally stupid and naïve. Kestrel thinks Surly is speaking French, and Pliant, true to her name, gives in to whatever bully threatens her the most. We assume that Pliant and the Spanish Count will be making love in the garden.
 
 

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