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MonkeyNotes-Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare
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Scene 2

Summary

As the curtain rises Lord Lucius is seen in conversation with three strangers. The first stranger informs Lucius about Timon’s poor financial condition. He also informs Lucius about how Lord Lucullus refused to help Timon by giving him the much-needed talents. This surprises Lucius and he declares that although he has received fewer gifts from Timon than Lord Lucullus has he would not have refused if Timon had asked for his help.

Timon’s servant Servilius enters and declares that his master has sent him for financial help. Lucius at first finds it difficult to believe that Timon is in debt. Like Lucullus, Lucius too expects that the servant is carrying a gift from Timon.


Lucius refuses to help Timon but he is more refined in his excuse. He claims to have spent it on purchases just the day before. After the servant leaves he says ‘he that once denied will hardly speed,’ which means if a person is denied once he will think twice before approaching again. This shows his ungrateful and selfish nature. The conversation between the strangers and Hostilius is worth noting. The stranger is aware of the good Timon had done for Lucius. Timon has supported Lucius by giving him money to keep his estates and also to pay the wages of his servants. The first stranger says ‘I would have put my wealth into donation and the best half should have returned to him’ is worth noting as it shows the stranger’s generosity towards Timon. However, his next remark that, in today’s world self-interest is more important than listening to one’s conscience, is a contradiction of this remark.

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