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Timon of Athens

By: Shakespeare, William

1458329224 / 9781458329226
Paperback / softback
Usually dispatched within 4 weeks
148 x 210 mm, 177 grams 130 pages
General (US: Trade)  Learn More
Quiz No: 240287, Points 0.50, Book Level 6.00,
Middle Years - Key Stage 2 Learn More

Timon of Athens (The Life of Tymon of Athens) is a play by William Shakespeare, probably written in collaboration with Thomas Middleton in about 1605-1606, which was published in the First Folio in 1623.

It is about the fortunes of an Athenian named Timon (and probably influenced by the philosopher Timon of Phlius).

The central character is a beloved citizen of Athens who through tremendous generosity spends his entire fortune on corrupt hangers-on only interested in getting the next payout.The earliest-known production of the play was in 1674, when Thomas Shadwell wrote an adaptation under the title The History of Timon of Athens, The Man-hater.

Multiple other adaptations followed over the next century, by writers such as Thomas Hull, James Love and Richard Cumberland.

The straight Shakespearean text was performed at Smock Alley in Dublin in 1761, but adaptations continued to dominate the stage until well into the 20th century.Timon of Athens was originally grouped with the tragedies, but some scholars name it one of the problem plays.In the beginning, Timon is a wealthy and generous Athenian gentleman.

He hosts a large banquet, attended by nearly all the main characters.

Timon gives away money wastefully, and everyone wants to please him to get more, except for Apemantus, a churlish philosopher whose cynicism Timon cannot yet appreciate.

He accepts art from Poet and Painter, and a jewel from the Jeweller, but by the end of Act 1 he has given that away to another friend.

Timon's servant, Lucilius, has been wooing the daughter of an old Athenian.

The man is angry, but Timon pays him three talents in exchange for the couple's being allowed to marry, because the happiness of his servant is worth the price.

Timon is told that his friend, Ventidius, is in debtors' prison.

He sends money to pay Ventidius's debt, and Ventidius is released and joins the banquet.

Timon gives a speech on the value of friendship. The guests are entertained by a masque, followed by dancing.

As the party winds down, Timon continues to give things away to his friends: his horses, as well as other possessions.

The act is divided rather arbitrarily into two scenes, but the experimental and/or unfinished nature of the play is reflected in that it does not naturally break into a five-act structure.


DDS Shakespeare plays, DSGS Shakespeare studies & criticism

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