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Timon of Athens

William Shakespeare

Characters

Summary

Act I, Scene i

Timon -  Timon of Athens is the title character in Shakespeare's Timon of Athens. Beginning the play as a wealthy man, Timon enjoys giving gifts to his friends and sharing his wealth. He believes that friendship means giving to his friends, without expecting something in return. Timon's servants all await the day when Timon's bounty runs out, for Timon has spent all of his money and more without listening to their reports about the status of his accounts. When creditors show up asking for payment on his debts, Timon finally listens, and discovers that he is bankrupt. He sends servants to his friends to ask for loans, but all come back empty-handed. Convinced all humanity has turned against him, Timon declares his hatred for mankind and takes off for the forest, where, to his dismay, he becomes a sought-after guru-like figure, and he discovers a hidden stash of gold. People constantly want to contact him, though his only discourse consists of curses for flatterers and false friends. Timon ends his days filled with bile at mankind.
Apemantus -  Apemantus is not one of Timon's friends, but he attends Timon's feasts anyway, looking for an opportunity to scorn Athenian citizens. He always scoffs at Timon's greetings, promising he will never be polite to Timon's friendly words. While Timon's other friends receive gifts, Timon withholds them from Apemantus until he should choose to be more sociable. Apemantus thinks Timon's friends are all flatterers and false money-grubbers. When Timon's luck changes, and he leaves Athens, Apemantus is delighted, and follows Timon to the wilderness merely to remind him that his villainous friends refused to loan him money. The two insult each other heartily and seem to dislike each other, yet they form a curious bond. Apemantus's poor upbringing makes him used to suffering while Timon is new to it, says Timon. But they are finally in the same boat, hating mankind together. Yet Timon still shoos him away from his forest home.
Alcibiades -  Alcibiades is an acquaintance of Timon, apparently a soldier. When one of his friends is sentenced to death by the Senators, Alcibiades protests and is banished. He promises to raise an army and conquer Athens. He encounters Timon in the woods after he has left Athens, and offers to help him after he sacks Athens. Timon enthusiastically supports the idea of destroying Athens, and gives Alcibiades a sum of gold to aid his army. So when Alcibiades stands outside the gates of Athens, he attempts to right both the wrongs done to him and those done to Timon, becoming his final champion after his death.
Flavius -  One of Timon's servants, Flavius is terrified to talk to Timon about his finances because Timon refuses to listen to him. Timon has not only run out of money, but he has gone into debt in order to continue giving gifts to his friends, and all his land is mortgaged. Finally Flavius has to confront Timon with the facts. When Timon is unable to procure a loan from his friends, he leaves Athens, and Flavius and his other servants mourn the fall of such a good man, brought down by his own generosity. Flavius shares out his last cash among the remaining servants, and determines to continue to serve Timon, going into the wilderness after him. Upon finding Timon, he offers his last remaining gold and weeps at Timon's downfall. Astonished, Timon declares Flavius is the only honorable man he knew in Athens, the only man who escapes his cursings of mankind, and gives him a sum of gold as a reward.
Lucullus -  One of Timon's friends, Lucullus accepts Timon's gifts but refuses to give him a loan when he runs out of cash.
Lucius -  One of Timon's friends, Lucius accepts Timon's gifts but refuses to give him a loan when he runs out of cash.
Sempronius -  One of Timon's friends, Lucius accepts Timon's gifts but refuses to give him a loan when he runs out of cash. Sempronius claims he is insulted to be asked after three other friends, and refuses Timon.
Ventidius -  One of Timon's friends, Ventidius accepts Timon's gifts but refuses to give him a loan when he runs out of cash. Timon begins the play by paying for his release from prison, yet Ventidius quickly forgets that when Timon needs cash.
Lucilius -  One of Timon's servants.
Flaminius -  One of Timon's servants, sent to ask for a loan from Timon's friends.
Servilius -  One of Timon's servants, sent to ask for a loan from Timon's friends.
Servant  -  One of Timon's servants, sent to ask for a loan from Timon's friends.
Caphis -  A servant of a creditor, one of Timon's friends who loaned Timon money, sent to Timon's house to demand the payment of a loan.
Varro's servant -  A servant of a creditor, one of Timon's friends who loaned Timon money, sent to Timon's house to demand the payment of a loan.
Isidore's servant -  A servant of a creditor, one of Timon's friends who loaned Timon money, sent to Timon's house to demand the payment of a loan.
Poet  -  One of Timon's hangers-on, the Poet composes verses for pay when Timon is wealthy. The Poet goes to the wilderness to seek Timon after his fall, having heard Timon found gold and hoping to get into his good graces. Timon thinks he's a money-grubbing flatterer.
Painter  -  One of Timon's hangers-on, the Painter paints Timon's likeness for pay when Timon is wealthy. The Painter goes to the wilderness to seek Timon after his fall, having heard Timon found gold and hoping to get into his good graces. Timon thinks he's a money-grubbing flatterer.
Jeweler  -  One of Timon's hangers-on, the Jeweler provides the ostentatious jewelry that Timon gives as gifts to his friends.
Fool -  The Fool appears with Apemantus outside Timon's house while servants of creditors wait for their payments. The Fool makes parallels between those who go to creditors and those who go to prostitutes. As is often the case in Shakespeare, the Fool appears to be unconsciously wiser than most other characters.
Bandits  -  Timon encounters these thieves in the wilderness, and he offers them gold to cause destruction and mayhem in Athens. Timon speaks so enthusiastically of the damage he hopes they will cause that they are put off their own profession.
Senators -  Members of the Athenian Senate, the Senators judge Alcibiades's friend, and later seek to bring Timon back to Athens. They try to defend Athens from Alcibiades, explaining that not everyone in the city is a bad person, only a few select characters, who can be singled out and punished.
Lords -  Among Timon's many friends who attend his feasts and accept his gifts.

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Shakespeare does Satire

by ReadingShakespeareby450th, August 19, 2013

Or at least that's what I think he was doing in Timon of Athens. Just finished a blog on my take.

http://ow.ly/o4xXz

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Not Satire, But Irony

by BardForKidsdotcom, July 12, 2014

Timon of Athens is an attack on the aristocracy of Elizabethan England, and their hypocritical society. It a play which most "scholars" describe as one of the Bard's "problem plays," but it is easily understood when compared to the real life financial issues suffered by Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford - who is a perfect double for Timon of Athens when it comes to his spending, gifting, partying, and bankruptcy.....

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1 out of 1 people found this helpful

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