Reflecting on Timon’s accumulating debt, and alarmed that his credit will suffer if he doesn’t collect, a senator summons a servant who is instructed not to take no for an answer if Timon gives an excuse not to pay the debt he owes the senator.
Servants on behalf of usurers converge in Timon’s house, and anon they badger Timon, who is busy entertaining Alcibiades, that Timon’s steward, Flavius, has denied them their suits and that Timon ought to pay up. Citing ignorance of his financial affairs, Timon urges the servants to put off their suits until after dinner, at which time Timon promises them satisfactory replies. Thus satisfied, the servants prepare themselves to be kept entertained and distracted until Timon’s return when they spot the misanthrope Apemantus and Timon’s Fool. The senator’s servant Caphis is eager to engage them, but Varro’s and Isidore’s servants aren't as eager. Anon the three servants vis a vis Apemantus and the Fool exchange insults of which the latter two get the better of. They continue to banter and exchange insults as a Page, who is illiterate, enters the scene with letters for Timon and Alcibiades. Meanwhile, to Timon’s chagrin and disbelief, Flavius, the steward, is apprising Timon of his desperate financial state. The situation is so desperate that Flavius begins to cry, but Timon is undaunted. Arguing that his wealth is more about friends than money, Timon summons three of his servants and dispatches them to the Lords Lucius and Lucullus, and also to the senators who were lavishly entertained by Timon at the play’s outset. Timon is especially keen on borrowing from the senators who he believes will lend him enough to cover the greater bulk of his debts. Alas, Flavius informs Timon that he had taken the liberty to solicit the senators on Timon’s behalf but to no avail. Cursing the senators, Timon orders Flavius to go to Ventidius. As Timon’s largesse had freed Ventidius from debtor’s prison, Timon is confident that Ventidius will lend him the modest sum which should for the time being keep his creditors at bay. Flavius isn’t as optismistic.