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MonkeyNotes-Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare
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PLOT (Structure)

The plot has the typical Shakespearean form and consists of the exposition, climax, and outcome, which are imbedded, in the fine acts. It is the only play of deliberate philosophic planning. Shakespeare has found the rough outline of the plot in Plutarchís autobiographies of Antonius and Alcibiades.

In the first two extended scenes of the play a society of parasites and flatterers is presented. They hover around the benevolent hero, who is extremely liberal and hospitable. Due to his reckless liberality, his fall is anticipated in the exposition itself. The reader is aware of the disillusioning experience that Timon is going to face when his friends forsake him. Minor characters like the poet, painter, Merchant, Jeweller, the old Athenian, Apemantus, and the main hero Timon is introduced in the opening scene of Act I. The main character of the subplot, Alcibiades, the Athenian captain, is present in the court of Timon. In the second scene all his so-called friends enter and the reader can judge their hypocrisy behind their sweet talk.

In Act II the scene shifts from Timonís court, which is the place of enjoyment, to the Senatorís house. The atmosphere here is very tense, as the Senators are worried about their money. Minor characters, like the servants of the Senators are introduced, who do not have much role in the play. The scenes in this act shifts alternately from Timonís house to the Senatorís place.

As the reader comes to the middle of play, there is a drastic change. Timon seeks help from his dear friends, but they refuse to help him by giving some excuse or the other. This is the climax of the play. Alcibiades, who is the main character of the sub-plot, reappears in this act. The main characters of the plot and subplot face a similar situation. The climactic change in Alcibiades, that is, the banishment from Athens also takes place in this act.


The ingratitude of the Senators, transforms the major character of the plot and also the subplot, but their outcome is totally different or just the opposite. In Act IV Timon is shown to be a misanthrope, a hater of mankind. He does not take revenge although he is given a chance. He only curses and scorns humanity, including himself. He gives away the gold, that he finds in the woods, to spread ruin in the society. Alcibiades, on the other hand, gathers an army and marches towards Athens in order to destroy the city.

At the end of the play, the main character Timon leaves this unhappy world and Alcibiades takes over the administration of the city of Athens.

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