The Role Of Alchemy In The Alchemist's Fool

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In my short story “The Alchemist’s Fool,” I discuss alchemy in early 16th century Europe. Through research, I came to understand the 16th century as the transitional period between older ways of alchemy in the 13th century and newer ones that were fully embraced in the 17th century. It took 13th century ideas, like nature’s hidden properties placed by God and the Philosopher’s Stone recipe, and added a scientific, empirical aspect, which became a focus in the 17th century. Whereas 13th century alchemists thought they were simply translators of God’s secrets , 16th century alchemists believed they were influencers of secrets and the cosmos. With the Hermetic Corpus, translated by Marsilio Ficino in the 1400s, 16th century alchemists felt that man has divine influence and can manipulate nature for mankind’s benefit. Paracelsus, a major 16th century figure, applied this idea to medicine, explaining, “action between man and natural objects…can be reciprocal.” Arguing that nature can heal man, he saw an intertwining of salvation and healing , and viewed man as blend of physician and magician.…show more content…
In saving Nicolo’s old recipe, yet mainly focusing on the newer ideas of man’s relationship to celestial influences and medicine, Paolo and Marco understand both aspects of alchemy. They know of the planets’ influence, signified by the recipe’s twelve steps that represent the twelve zodiac symbols , when Paolo jokingly says that wealth should be made in the sun, as gold and the sun are sympathies, and when Marco associates Saturn with envy . They also know that nature can be used for healing, shown when Paolo takes herbs at the end of the story to create

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