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MonkeyNotes-Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare
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Alcibiades

Alcibiades is a captain in the army and the central figure of the subplot. He is a rather wild and impetuous young man, who feels that it is more important for him to be at Timonís service than do his duties as a soldier. He is first seen in the play in Act I, Scene II, when he comes for Timonís feast. Alcibiadesí fate is similar to that of Timon. He too faces disillusionment from the people he trusts. Alcibiades pleads for the release of a friend, who has been sentenced to death for murder. He argues that his friend has killed in self-defense and should therefore be pardoned. But the Senators are merciless. Not only do they ignore his pleas, but also banish him from Athens. He curses Athens and the Senators for their ingratitude towards him even though he has done so much for Athens, and vows to take revenge.

He leaves the city and forms an army to march towards Athens and destroy the existing government. While passing through the woods he meets Timon. Two whores, Phrynia and Timandra, also accompany Alcibiades. He is unaware of Timonís downfall, he sympathizes with him and offers gold, which Timon refuses.

On reaching Athens, Alcibiades threatens to destroy the city. The Senators bid for mercy. He eventually calls off the invasion, takes possession of the city and rejoins the community.

The character of Alcibiades has not been given a proper place in the play. It is strange that he is banished for pleading for his nameless friend who is not mentioned anywhere in the book.


Flavius (Steward)

Flavius, the steward, is faithful to Timon even after his downfall. He is the one, who becomes aware of Timonís financial condition, even before Timon himself can realize it. He tries to make Timon realize that he is bankrupt. Timon however is not willing to listen to him. It is only when creditors come asking for their money, does Timon realize his financial condition. He however is sure that his friends will help him out of this situation. Flavius however is not so sure about this. He suspects that these people, who always surrounded Timon when they thought that he was rich, will now abandon him when they know that he does not have any wealth. But for the sake of Timon, Flavius hopes that he is wrong and the friends do come to Timonís aid. He surmises that if Timonís friends do not help him now, then people will stop being generous to others. This is because people will realize the futility of trust and friendship. Flavius is generous like his master. This can be seen from the fact that he shares his savings with the other servants, when Timon leaves Athens for the woods. He salutes the other servant as Ďfellowsí and describes them as Ďrich in sorrow parting poor,í which shows that fellow feeling still exists in the little world of Timon.

Flavius visits Timon in the forest. At first Timon refuses to recognize him as he is so disillusioned by the behavior of mankind. The faithful steward offers to share his savings with Timon. Seeing the gratitude Timon heaps treasure on him, on the condition that he will show no charity to anybody and give, whatever he feels like giving to a man, to the dog. Thus the faithful servantís loyalty is rewarded. Timon admits to himself that the whole of mankind is not evil, that is, there is an honest person like Flavius.

Apemantus

Apemantus is a harsh critic. He is churlish, cynical and envious. Like Thersites, he too satirizes his superior. He keeps warning Timon, to see life as it is and to be aware of the outcome of his actions. He condemns Timonís action. He keeps commenting on what he sees. Even the guests are distracted by his strange behavior. He does nothing but rail. After Alcibiades, Apemantus is the next to visit Timon in the forest. On seeing Timon torturing himself he gets angry. He advises him to do the same as the Senators had done to him. The conversation doesnít remain a pleasant one and Timon drives Apemantus away by throwing stones at him. Timon descends to the level of Apemantus and as his death approaches he recovers his dignity.

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