William Shakespeare's Timon of Athens in the complete original text.
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Timon of Athens

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Timon of Athens Play

Timon of Athens tells the tale of a kind and generous aristocrat, too generous in fact; it seems all around him need of his money... Unsurprisingly, Timons is very well liked, painters, poets and jewellers alike plying him with gifts. He lends money to others in trouble (Noble Ventidius), even underwriting servant Lucilius who wants to marry an old Athenian's daughter.

Naturally our aristocratic benefactor holds another of his great feasts, all around him merrily eating and drinking away. Timons, though is just happy to be amongst his friends... Not content just to share a feast, Timons showers jewels upon everyone. No one minds except his steward Flavius who believes his master to be too generous and notes our aristocrat is steadily indebting himself. The philosopher Apemantus privately shares this view. Now facing creditors, Flavius telsl his master he is bankrupt. Our aristocrat asks his friends to lend him money; all offer excuses instead.... Though increasingly worried, the nobleman does not give up hope yet, remembering his friends have always helped him before.... Instead the servants of his many "friends" demand payment of their debts! The Senate decide that Timon should die for failing to pay his debts.

A captain of Athens named Alciabides trys valiantly without success to overturn this death sentence over one of his men given by the Senate. For his trouble Alciabides is banished but decides to have the last laugh by planning to sack Athens with his army in revenge. Infuriated by his friends refusal to help him, our nobleman invites his "friends" to one last feast only to serve them warm water, throwing it in their faces, Timons' denouncing not only these "friends" but all mankind, deciding to head for the woods. This earns him the reputation of a madman.

Learning of the noblemans' fate, Alciabides befriends the aristocrat, now living as a hermit, hunting for mere scrubs with which to eat. Ironically the hermit has come across a great hoard of gold. The hermit now insults Alciabides for the crime of being a man, so deep is the hermits' hatred. Alciabides tries to offer the hermit money but instead the hermit makes him an offer; Alciabides may have the gold if he sacks Athens. Accepting some of this gold to pay his troops, Alciabides sets off for Athens.

The Hermit meets Apemantus, the two getting along since they both hate mankind. Apermentus relays the hermit's message to Athens that he has found a great hoard of gold. Now bandits arrive, the hermit too offering them gold should they bring havoc upon Athens. Unfortunately the hermit's venomous ranting convinces these bandits to give up their thieving ways. Realising Flavius his old steward to be one of the few honest men left, the hermit even sends him packing, though with gold.

Meanwhile Alciabides reaches Athens, the desperate Athenians begging the hermit for help, but the hermit instead kindly offers them a tree with which to hang themselves! Desperate, the Senate placate Alciabides by offering up Alciabides' enemies and those who refused to help the hermit out of his debt. Alciabides says he seeks reparations only from the hermit's "friends." Unfortunately though it seems the hermit has finally been avenged, a lone soldier announces that the once popular nobleman has passed away alone in his cave, uncared for by anyone. Alcibides reads aloud the hermit's own scrawled epitgraph, asking all to remember this generous man...


Dramatis Personæ

Act I
Scene I, Scene II

Act II
Scene I,
Scene II,

Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V, Scene VI

Act IV
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III

Act V
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV

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