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  • Writer's pictureMackenzie Elisa

Timon of Athens

Updated: Aug 15, 2021

Setting: 431-404 BCE

Athens, Greece

Tragedy


My really abridged plot summary: Timon is a rich man who throws extravagant parties for his friends (I want to say in Jay Gatsby style). When Timon's lavish lifestyle empties his coffers, he goes to his friends for help. The friends refuse to help because they're #fake. Timon then hosts a second party dinner party, but this time he serves his guests rocks and hot water instead of a grand meal and he curses them for their actions. Timon leaves Athens to live in the woods and resigns to hating all men (#mood). Digging for food one day, Timon comes across a chest of gold and gives some to Alcibiades and his army to destroy Athens. Timon starts giving money away again (because he didn't learn his lesson the first time) and his fake friends come running back to ask for money to fight against Alcibiades. Alcibiades wins the battle. Timon dies in the forest. Everyone is sad and they find his epitaph that he wrote for himself. The End.


My favorite quotes:

Like Madness is the glory of this life.

~Apemantus, I.ii

You are an alchemist, make gold of that

~Timon, V.i


I've yet to give a play a *bad* review, but this one is breaking the 5 star streak. Don't get me wrong- this play is great, just not in relation to Shakespeare's other plays.


Ratings:

  • Overall Impression: 5- This is another one of the #problemplays, and it shows. Again, the tone is inconsistent and quite frankly, this doesn't hold a candle to his other tragedies. It's an excellent commentary on wealth and the social dynamics that revolve around it, but in comparison to the other tragedies, this one is kinda weak.

  • Use of Language: 5- It wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything special. There were some pretty good one-liners.

  • Protagonist Arc: 7- I thought Timon was the only character who had relatively any dimension or layers. Timon's arc itself is tragic, his fatal flaw is his unwavering generosity. Generosity is not inherently a bad thing, but he allows others to take advantage of him and he tries to change, but ultimately it is his downfall.

  • Female Characters: 1- Ummm yeah. There's 2 written women in this play and they're the mistresses of Alcibiades. They have maybe 2 lines each and they just get called "whore" a few times. That's it. They don't get a 0 because their 5 combined lines are pretty funny. I think in a staged production of this play, gender-bending is necessary (I agree with the RSC's choice to make Timon a woman!)

  • Fits Genre: 6- This is a #problemplay... I don't know, this play was just not as tragic as the other tragedies and so it can't be scaled as if it were.

  • Overall Enjoyment: 5- This is not my favorite Shakespeare play. I didn't hate it but I don't think it's his worst. I think this play probably translates better on stage.

  • Hype Worthy: 4- I will not be the first to recommend this play. It's a relatively easy read compared to Coriolanus, though. I just don't think it lives up to the tragedy standard that Shakespeare sets with his other plays. Again, it's a #problemplay for a reason.

  • Emotional Impact: 6- I felt bad for Timon, although he is kinda responsible for his losses. He needs to learn better money management and he needs better friends.

Total: 39/80

Average: 4

*2 out of 5 stars*


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