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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Last Modified April 17, 2002
Last Modified April 17, 2002