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Timon of Athens

The Life of Timon of Athens (a Satiric Comedy)

At Timon's house in Athens, a poet, painter, and jeweler compare the gifts each plans to give to Lord Timon. He appears and a messenger informs him Noble Ventidius is in need of money. Without hesitation, Timon promises it to him. Then, an Old Athenian appears and complains that Timon's servant Lucilius is wrongly courting his daughter. Timon convinces the man to let Lucilius marry his daughter, provided Timon provides Lucilius with sufficient money to support the marriage. Next, Apemantus, a "churlish philosopher" enters and all enjoy trading insults with him. Timon holds a great feast and all attend and eat much, while Timon, who is simply content to be surround by "his friends", eats little. After supper, all dance with women and Timon showers jewels upon everybody. Timon's steward Flavius complains that Timon is too generous and already he begins to go into debt. Apemantus echoes this feeling in private.

At a senator's house, he tells his servant Caphis to go to Timon and demand he repay his debts to the Senator. We learn the senator fears Timon will soon be unable to repay his debts, and so he wants the money now. Caphis arrives at Timon's house and demands the money; Varro's and Isidore's servants also arrive demanding their master's money. Timon promises Flavius will pay them, but Flavius finally convinces Timon that he is beyond broke and is in fact deep in debt. Timon sends Flaminus and Servilius to ask for loans from Lucius, Lucullus, and Sempronius, then asks Flavius to visit the senators. However, Flavius explains he has already seen the senators, and they have all denied him money. Timon, although growing fearful continues to believe that his "friends" will help him since he has always helped them in the past, particularly Ventidius.

Flaminus comes to Lucullus asking for 50 talents, but is quickly denied any money. Lucullus actually (falsely) claims to have told Timon to behave less lavishly in the past. A servant of Lucius' relays this event to him, and Lucius vows to help Timon. But when Servilius appears to Lucius and asks for 5500 talents, Lucius quickly goes back on his word and claims (falsely) that he himself is nearly broke. Another servant approaches Sempronius for money. He asks about Lucius', Lucullus', and Ventidius' gifts and is told all have refused Timon money. Sempronius refuses also, claiming he is insulted that he is the last one to be asked for money and was not approached first. At Timon's house, all of Timon's "friends'" servants are there to demand Timon repay his debts. Flavius tries to explain they are beyond being broke, but the servants will not listen. Timon scares them all off in a fit of rage, then declares he will hold one last feast for all the "knaves". At the Senate house, the senators decide Timon should die for his debts. The captain Alcibiades valiantly plead's for Timon's life, but is ignored by the senators. Eventually, they tire of his pleadings and banish him from Athens, effective two days hence. Alcibiades decides privately to muster his armies and attack Athens. At Timon's house, he holds his final banquet. He ends up serving the lords pots of warm water and throws it in their faces causing them to flee. The lords report to the senators that Timon has gone mad.

In a mad speech of rage, Timon vows to flee to the woods and quickly grow to hate mankind. Remaining in his house, Timon's servants gather and Flavius gives them some money, then departs in search of Timon. At Timon's cave in the woods, he rails against mankind then, while searching for food (roots), he finds buried gold, placed there by the Gods for Timon. Alcibiades, on his way to Athens, comes across Timon. He, having no need for gold, gives what he has to Alcibiades, but chides him still, simply because he is a man. Next, Apemantus appears and decides he likes Timon now since he hates mankind. Timon instructs him to tell the nobles of Athens he has new-found gold. Apemantus leaves and three thieves/bandits appear and ask for some of his gold. However, seeing Timon in his misery causes the thieves to let him be and leave. Next, Flavius appears while searching for Timon and finds Timon as he grows sicker. Timon soon declares Flavius to be the one honest man left in the world. Yet, Timon sends Flavius away and retreats into his cave.

The poet and the painter then appear, having heard rumors of Timon's gold. Initially Timon leads them on by claiming they are honest men, then he chases them off in a rage. Lastly, Flavius appears with two senators from Athens who tell Timon in return for his money, he may return to Athens forgiven, and help fight off Alcibiades. Timon pretends to agree, then shuns them all and tells them he hopes Alcibiades sacks Athens. Later, a soldier comes across Timon's cave and finds he is dead, leaving his own epitaph, which he brings to Alcibiades. At Athens, Alcibiades overtakes the city and the senators make payment to him to keep him from sacking Athens. He agrees to only seek reparations from Timon's "friends". He then reads Timon's epitaph and asks all to remember him.

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Timon Of Athens

Hello I am a new member, and would like to post a small piece on the Shakespeare Play: Timon of Athens. I question whether the play is a tragedy, as it is often classified. Timon says that his miseries were "when he had prosperity". What could the play be about? A man brought down by false friends and naievete? It could be, however there are a lot of unanswered questions with this point of view. Why did Timon not return to his former life when it was offered to him twice? When he went to his reclusive cave, he found gold, a lot if it, enough to "make black white" ; and again near the end of the play he is offered high position and wealth by the senators to return to Athens. Timon lived in illusions and expectations about the world and other people, the illusion that he could give forever with no reckoning for example: and the expectation that others would give back to him. When he saw the truth of the situation he left the society of men altogether. Much like a Monk or Hermit on a religous way. Now from the point of view of the world this makes no sense, seek something higher in extreme poverty, and basic living. But this has been a theme in human history, so it is not so easy to pass it over. When Timon finds gold, he says " I am no idle votarist " , votarist in the Oxford dictionary is "one bound by a vow: A devotee" Timon is serious. It seems the opinion is that Timon is speaking madness, But Shakespeare warns about opinion in Pericles Prince of Tyre: "opinion is a fool that scans the outer looking for the inner." When the thieves who come to Timon's cave for gold leave, they are determined to live a better life. Could a madman do this? Once Timon realizes that his stewart Flaminius is honest, he softens to him and expresses real love. He returns to each their own. Does this sound like a madman? Some of Timons teachings are " Theres never a one of you but trusts a knave" There could be some deep meaning in what Timon is saying. Anyway there a few thoughts on the play. If anyone has any response, I would love to hear it. Bob Matheson


heyy!! this play " Timon of Athens " one of my best's..i've watched it at the much did i like it that i was lookin' forward to mentionin' about it :lol: well, this play not only shows us the grievious end of generous ppl,but also an unfair victory (!) -it can be discussed- of the hypocrites... what happens noble,rich Timon?? He don't think his future, he scatter his money to the ppl around him- supposing that they're like him..but, unfortunetaly what if when black days comes for TimON? Everybody is lost!!! what a pity!! noone is there, but just Timon's faithful servant..Timon realises that truth when he escape from his magnificent villa( i don't remember what kind of a location is.. sorry for that) being in deep dept, he searches for the calmness in the deepness of a forest..he eats the roots of plants, sleepes on the soil, ruined.. One day he finds some gold under the soil, as soon as he finds it, he shares them with his visitors which comes regularly to check if he has money..and he gives his money on the condition of using them to attract noble and riches, and deceive them like smiling then begin to count how much money they-- this cruel eaters--get.. and say it some of the visitors especially dishonourable ones.. he want to take revenge on whom.. i couldn't understand it :p but when i remember this story, i feel somethin' in my hearth like the thing i can't identify with words.. ;)


This website is the best thing that ever came into my life. It helps me so much in my drama class finding quotes, & summaries of certain plays. Thanks so much. Whoever made this is BRILLIANT! Thanks again, Love Cassandra

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