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Summary Act 3


Confident that Lucullus, who has lavishly fed at Timon’s home only two days ago, won’t begrudge Timon a loan of fifty talents, Timon’s servant Flaminius arrives at Lucullus’ home with an empty box. However, when Lucullus, who misinterprets the box’s significance, thinking it to be a gift from Timon, realizes that Flaminius means to have the box filled with Lucullus’ money to be delivered to Timon as a loan, he simultaneously flatters Flaminius’ good sense and criticizes Timon’s generosity, calling it gross extravagance, the upshot of which is that Lucullus will indeed begrudge his friend Timon the requested loan. Infuriated, Flaminius rejects Lucullus’ tip and wonders that world could be so false and selfish.


Apprised of Timon’s financial straits and of Lucullus’ denial to lend Timon money, Lucius not only extols Timon but avows that were he in Lucullus’ shoes that he wouldn’t hesitate to lend Timon money. Alas, when Timon’s servant Servilius accosts him, Lucius is only too eager to make himself scarce. Servilius manages to detain Lucius, however, and by and by he presents Lucius with a note which is a request for a substantial amount of loan. Servilius assures Lucius that Timon would be just as glad with a lesser amount, but Lucius denies any and all requests, proffering the likely story that he had just recently made a substantial loan to another and that as much as it hurts him to say it he cannot, at present, make any loans. Satisfied, Servilius leaves. When Lucius leaves, the three strangers with whom Lucius was having a conversation with prior to Servilius’ arrival, discuss this latest turn of events. And they are, to say the least, critical of the supposed friends of Timon who are only too eager to profit from Timon’s generosity but are miserly to the point of criminal when it comes to reciprocating the generosity.


A third servant of Timon solicits the generosity of Sempronius, another of Timon’s cadgers and supposed friends, but to no avail. Sempronius' reasoning is a marvel of twisted logic. Sempronius argues that as he was the first among Timon’s friends to accept a gift from Timon, he takes it as an insult that Timon has come to him last to ask for a loan. And because Timon has thus insulted him, Sempronius avows his determination to deny Timon the lending of any money. Flabbergasted, Timon’s servant wonders at the depths of wickedness that men will stoop to serve their own base ends. As Sempronius was Timon’s last hope, the servant sadly concludes that to avoid his creditors, his master will henceforth be confined to his home.


Two servants of Varros and the servants Lucius, Titus, Hortensius, and Philotas have come to collect from Timon. Even though, it’s nearly nine in the morning (Timon is known to get up by seven), the collectorss are barred entry to Timon’s residence. As they wait, there is some discussion among them which indicate that the collectors are ashamed to carry out their tasks on account of their masters who have profited greatly from Timon’s excesses and are now in effect demanding Timon to pay for his excesses. By and by, as Timon refuses to be confined to his house, the collectors gain access to Timon. They make their respective demands, and Timon allows himself to be badgered and harassed before storming off, at which point Hortensius, one of the collectors, remarks that as Timon is practically a madman, their masters’ prospects of redeeming their loans would be as likely as recouping their losses by begging in the streets.


Disgusted by the treatment he was subjected to by his creditors, Timon hatches up a plan. He orders Flavius, his steward, to invite all of his former fiends to one last banquet. Flavius tries to dissuade Timon, arguing that their budget would barely allow a modest meal, but Timon has made up his mind. Arguing that he himself with the cook will provide the eatables, Timon reiterates his command to have all of his former friends invited to one last memorable feast.


Senators are unanimous in their decision to condemn a man, who is accused of killing another man in anger, to death when Alcibiades intercedes on behalf of the condemned man, arguing that the circumstances of the condemned man’s anger was wholly justified, even nobel, so that the senate would do well to give the condemned man the benefit of their doubts. The senators disagree, however, arguing that the only noble course the condemned man could have taken was to passively bear the cause of his anger rather than actively oppose it and that no matter how Alcibiades characterizes the act, the act itself is a crime punishable by death. Alcibiades continues to vouch for the condemned man, however, citing the condemned man’s military service to Athens which is considerable and arguing that if to endure was valor than a donkey has more valor than a lion. Displeased, the senators banish Alcibiades from Athens and they repeat their determination to have the man who killed in anger executed and that at once. Defiant, Alcibiades embraces his banishment and vows retribution.

William Shakespeare