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MonkeyNotes-Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare
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Scene 2

Summary

When the scene opens, Flavius is in conversation with two other servants of Timon. The first servant wonders about their insecure future. The steward informs them that he is as poor and helpless as they are. The servants pity their noble master’s condition, for all his friends have left him in his ill fortune. The second servant points out that just as men forget those who are dead, Timon’s friends treat him as if he does not exist anymore. They were always with him in his good days, but now that he is no longer wealthy, they have left him.

Few other servants also join in the conversation. The steward volunteers to share his wealth among his comrades. He is well aware of the misery that riches bring. He doesn’t want to be foolish enough to be deceived by false glory or live in an illusion of friendship. Flavius decides to follow his master into the woods and be with him as long as he needs him.


Notes

One does not have to pity Timon for his faithful steward follows his master just as Kent had followed Lear, thus asserting their loyalty. A similarity is found in the nature of the servants of ‘Lear’ and ‘Timon’. Both are morally sensitive. They have a true feeling for human situation.

Flavius salutes his companions as ‘fellows’ and a fellow feeling is established among them. Flavius also takes this opportunity to express his views about the wretchedness of riches. Even Flavius’ companions are faithful to their master. Their hearts still wear the uniform of Timon’s servant. They still feel that they are working for him.

Flavius’ statement that man’s worst sin is that he does too much good contrasts the law of the Bible, yet the statement is true. This can be seen in the case of Timon, who had always come to the assistance of his friends when they were in need. These very friends however desert him when he is in trouble. Flavius is aware of Timon’s present state of mind and also that he does not have any supply of food. He decides to follow Timon and help him out as long as he can afford to do so.

This shows that not all of mankind is corrupt. There are some, who think not only of themselves but of others. These people not only give their wealth but also their service.

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