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Timon of Athens

by: William Shakespeare

Act III, Scenes iv-vi

Alcibiades, alone, is enraged. He has fought hard for Athens, only to be banished. He says he's nearly glad to leave Athens, for now he can gather his troops and strike at Athens. Soldiers should not endure such wrongs, he declares.

Commentary

The servants outside Timon's door all appear to have more capacity for pity than any of their masters, for they all remark on the injustice of their masters calling Timon's bills due, when the loans originated to pay for gifts for their masters. Yet Timon's former friends ignore Timon's kind intentions, they forget his gifts, and turn on him. Yet even though the servants seem to understand the injustice of Timon's position, they still swamp him with their bills and drive him into his house!

Timon plans to confront his former friends by throwing another feast, a feast that will be memorably different from the bounty and generosity that marked his prior festivities. Timon had at first believed his friends would help him through rough times, but when they refused, his rage was provoked. Learning swiftly from his mistakes, he becomes a wholly different man.

The secondary plot of Alcibiades's banishment is not well developed; apparently a friend of his has killed someone in what appears to have been a momentary rage, and has been sentenced to death. But while arguing for his release, Alcibiades annoys the senators to the point of banishing him. Alcibiades declares that he will raise an army to take Athens, which will prove helpful to Timon's cause later in the play. Alcibiades too has been one of Timon's friends, but apparently his involvement in this trial hinders any aid he might have offered to Timon, until later.