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MonkeyNotes-Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare
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Scene 2

Summary

Flavius, the steward, enters with bills complaining about Timonís expenditure. He wonders what action should be taken as Timon does not listen to His warnings about his dwindling wealth.

In the meanwhile, Caphis meets the servants of Isidore and Varro and realizes that their masters too have sent them for the collection of the debt from Timon. The servants meet Timon as soon as he returns from hunting. They tell him that they have often been sent away by his steward Flavius. They demand their due but Timon does not take them seriously and leaves them with the steward. Flavius asks the servants to wait and give him time to speak to his master.

Apemantus and the fool enter the stage. Caphis wants to have some fun with Apemantus, that is, deliberately provoke him. The other servants are disinterested for they are aware of Apemantusí harshness and rudeness. Caphis and Apemantus talk but as expected, the conversation between them is not pleasant.

Later a page comes in. He seems illiterate and asks Apemantus for help in finding the superscription of the letters. Apemantus however abuses him. Timon reenters along with the steward and accuses Flavius for not making him aware of his present financial situation earlier. Flavius replies that he has tried in vain but ĎTimon would throw them off.í Timon had complete faith in his steward. Flavius further informs him that, now the situation is such that some of the land is mortgaged, others sold, and the remaining fortune will scarcely pay half the debt. Timon now completely understands his present situation. Timon however has full faith in his friends and assures his steward not to worry since he is wealthy in terms of his friends. Flavius tells Timon that he had sent people to the Senators, asking for their help, but the Senators have refused. Timon however is not bothered, as he believes that old men are usually not generous. Timon now sends his servants to Lord Lucius, Lord Lucullus and Sempronius. He also sends a servant to Ventidius and is sure that he will help him in his need, just as he had helped Ventidius by clearing off his debts.


Notes

From this act onwards, the readers watch the ruin of Timon. Premonition seems to turn into reality. The steward is aware of Timonís condition before Timon himself is. He is sure that Timon will not listen to or pay heed to his warnings, until he himself realizes the result of his mistake. Timon is seen returning from his hunting spree accompanied by Alcibiades and is least aware of the critical situation.

The creditors hover around Timon like vultures do over their prey. His excessive indulgence in generous acts has resulted in debt. Timon is an optimist; he has full faith in his so-called friends and has the least sense of reality. His lack of understanding can be seen where in he replies he was well aware of his actions.

The dialogue between Apemantus and the fool is thought to be uncharacteristic of Shakespeare, not because of the style but due to its irrelevance. The fool does not appear anywhere else in the play. The purpose of this scene is mainly to provide comic relief and also to give the steward, Flavius, time to explain the situation to Timon.

According to Flavius, the steward, Timonís wrong belief is his enemy because it means he gives away to those who will not respond.

In a way Timon sees the situation as a blessing in disguise as it gives him the opportunity to test his friends. Flavius hopes that Timonís trust in his friends will prove to be true, because if this does not happen then people will no longer be generous towards anybody.

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