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Now Timon has given away all his wealth. Flavius, Timon's steward, is upset by the way Timon has spent his wealth, overextending his munificence by showering patronage on the parasitic writers and artists, and delivering his dubious friends from their financial straits; this he tells Timon when he returns from a hunt. Timon is upset that he has not been told this before, and begins to vent his anger on Flavius, who tells him that he has tried repeatedly in the past without success, and now he is at the end; Timon's land has been sold.

Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare

Shadowing Timon is another guest at the banquet: the cynical philosopher Apemantus, who terrorises Timon's shallow companions with his caustic raillery. He was the only guest not angling for money or possessions from Timon. Along with a Fool, he attacks Timon's creditors when they show up to make their demands for immediate payment. Timon cannot pay, and sends out his servants to make requests for help from those friends he considers closest. Timon's servants are turned down, one by one, by Timon's false friends, two giving lengthy monologues as to their anger with them.

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Elsewhere, one of Alcibiades's junior officers has reached an even further point of rage, killing a man in "hot blood. The senators disagree, and, when Alcibiades persists, banish him forever.

He vows revenge, with the support of his troops. The act finishes with Timon discussing with his servants the revenge he will carry out at his next banquet.

Timon hosts a smaller party, intended only for those he feels have betrayed him. The serving trays are brought in, but under them the friends find rocks and lukewarm water. Timon sprays them with the water, throws the dishes at them, and flees his home. The loyal Flavius vows to find him. Cursing the city walls, Timon goes into the wilderness and makes his crude home in a cave, sustaining himself on roots. Here he discovers an underground trove of gold.

The knowledge of his discovery spreads. Alcibiades, Apemantus, and three bandits are able to find Timon before Flavius does.

The Life of Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare

Accompanying Alcibiades are two prostitutes, Phrynia and Timandra, who trade barbs with the bitter Timon on the subject of venereal disease. Timon offers most of the gold to the rebel Alcibiades to subsidise his assault on the city, which he now wants to see destroyed, as his experiences have reduced him to misanthropy. He gives the rest to his whores to spread disease, and much of the remainder to Poet and Painter, who arrive soon after, leaving little for the senators who visit him. When Apemantus appears and accuses Timon of copying his pessimistic style there is a mutually misanthropic exchange of invective.

Flavius arrives.


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He wants the money as well, but he also wants Timon to come back into society. Timon acknowledges that he has had one true friend in Flavius, a shining example of an otherwise diseased and impure race, but laments that this man is a mere servant. He invites the last envoys from Athens, who hoped Timon might placate Alcibiades, to go hang themselves, and then dies in the wilderness. Alcibiades, marching on Athens, then throws down his glove, and ends the play reading the bitter epitaph Timon wrote for himself, part of which was composed by Callimachus :.

The play's date is uncertain, though its bitter tone links it with Coriolanus and King Lear. John Day 's play Humour Out of Breath, published in , contains a reference to "the lord that gave all to his followers, and begged more for himself"—a possible allusion to Timon that would, if valid, support a date of composition before It has been proposed that Shakespeare himself took the role of the Poet, who has the fifth-largest line count in the play.

The play was entered into the Stationers' Register in There are no contemporary allusions to the play by which its date of composition may be determined, [a] nor is there an agreed means of explaining the play's "loose ends and inconsistencies". Editors since the twentieth century have sought to remedy these defects through conjectures about Shakespeare's emotional development Chambers ; [11] : p. Assuming the play is a collaboration between Shakespeare and Middleton, its date has been placed in the period —, most likely In his edition for the Oxford Shakespeare, John Jowett argues the lack of act divisions in the Folio text is an important factor in determining a date.

The King's Men only began to use act divisions in their scripts when they occupied the indoor Blackfriars Theatre in August as their winter playhouse. Timon is notoriously difficult to divide into acts, suggesting to Jowett that it was written at a time when act divisions were of no concern to the writer, hence it must have been written prior to August In the context of the play, the line is referring to religious zeal, but some scholars feel it is a subtle reference to the events of November.

Furthermore, MacDonald P. Jackson's rare-word test found the conjectured Shakespearean parts of the text date to — Going further, Jackson found that if one examines the non-Shakespearean sections in the context of Middleton's career, a date of — also results. Shakespeare, in writing the play, probably drew upon the twenty-eighth novella of William Painter 's Palace of Pleasure , the thirty-eighth novella of which was the main source for his All's Well That Ends Well.

Since the nineteenth century, suggestions have been made that Timon is the work of two writers, and it has been argued that the play's unusual features are the result of the play's being co-authored by playwrights with very different mentalities; the most popular candidate, Thomas Middleton , was first suggested in Chambers believes Shakespeare began the play, but abandoned it due to a mental breakdown, never returning to finish it.

Brownlow believes the play to have been Shakespeare's last, and remained uncompleted at his death. Today, many scholars believe that other dramatist was Thomas Middleton. Did Middleton revise a piece begun by Shakespeare, did Shakespeare revise Middleton's work, or did they work together? They argued that if one playwright revised another's play it would have been "fixed" to the standards of Jacobean theatre, which is clearly not the case. Soellner believed the play is unusual because it was written to be performed at the Inns of Court , where it would have found a niche audience with young lawyers.

Linguistic analyses of the text have all discovered apparent confirmation of the theory that Middleton wrote much of the play. It contains numerous words, phrases, and punctuation choices that are characteristic of the work of Middleton but rare in Shakespeare. These linguistic markers cluster in certain scenes, apparently indicating that the play is a collaboration between Middleton and Shakespeare, not a revision of one's work by the other. The editor of the Oxford edition, John Jowett, states that Middleton,. The play's abrasively harsh humour and its depiction of social relationships that involve a denial of personal relationships are Middletonian traits[.

Jowett stresses that Middleton's presence does not mean the play should be disregarded, stating " Timon of Athens is all the more interesting because the text articulates a dialogue between two dramatists of a very different temper. Many scholars find much unfinished about this play including unexplained plot developments, characters who appear unexplained and say little, prose sections that a polished version would have in verse although close analysis would show this to be almost exclusively in the lines of Apemantus, and probably an intentional character trait , and the two epitaphs, one of which doubtless would have been cancelled in the final version.

However, similar duplications appear in Julius Caesar and Love's Labour's Lost and are generally thought to be examples of two versions being printed when only one was ultimately used in production, which could easily be the case here. Nevertheless, and perhaps unsurprisingly due to its subject matter, it has not proven to be among Shakespeare's popular works. An anonymous play, Timon, also survives.

Its Timon is explicitly hedonistic and spends his money much more on himself than in Shakespeare's version. He also has a mistress. It mentions a London inn called The Seven Stars that did not exist before , yet it contains elements that are in Shakespeare's play but not in Plutarch or in Lucian's dialogue, Timon the Misanthrope, the other major accepted source for Shakespeare's play. Both Jacobean plays deal extensively with Timon's life before his flight into the wilderness, which in both Greek versions is given little more than one sentence each.

Soellner argues that the play is equal parts tragedy and satire, but that neither term can adequately be used as an adjective, for it is first and foremost a tragedy, and it does not satirise tragedy; rather, it satirises its subjects in the manner of Juvenalian satire while simultaneously being a tragedy. Herman Melville considered Timon to be among the most profound of Shakespeare's plays, and in his review " Hawthorne and His Mosses " [32] writes that Shakespeare is not "a mere man of Richard-the-Third humps, and Macbeth daggers," but rather "it is those deep far-away things in him; those occasional flashings-forth of the intuitive Truth in him; those short, quick probings at the very axis of reality:—these are the things that make Shakespeare, Shakespeare.

Through the mouths of the dark characters of Hamlet, Timon, Lear, and Iago, he craftily says, or sometimes insinuates the things, which we feel to be so terrifically true, that it were all but madness for any good man, in his own proper character, to utter, or even hint of them. In his novel Pierre , Melville used the term " Timonism " about an artist's contemptuous rejection of both his audience and mankind in general.

Appreciation of the play often pivots on the reader's perception of Timon's asceticism. Timon turns the tables Timon hosts a second party, for the people she feels have betrayed her. A change in fortune One day, digging for roots to eat, she discovers gold. In This Section. Watch video.

Cast Members Discuss Themes of Timon of Athens

Find out more. You may also like. Pre-theatre dining. Read More. Pre-order any drink at any bar. We use cookies on this website. By using this site you agree that we may store and access cookies on your device. Alcibiades accepts a portion of the treasure to pay his men, then marches on Athens. More visitors, these in the form of bandits, pay a visit. Timon pays them gold on the condition that they too wreak lawless havoc on Athens. The bandits accept the gold, but Timon's rant stirs them instead, ironically, to give up thieving.

Timon even sends away his former steward, Flavius, although with gold in his pockets and more kindness than he has shown to anyone else. The senators ingratiate themselves with Alcibiades by giving up his enemies and those that refused to help Timon when he was in debt. Alcibiades agrees, vowing peace in Athens.