The Oxford Shakespeare: Timon of Athens
Timon of Athens is a bitterly intriguing study of a fabulously rich man who wastes his wealth on his friends, and, when he is finally impoverished, learns to despise humanity with a hatred that drives him to his grave. The play's response to matters topical in Jacobean London sharpens its thrust as satire. Yet the setting in ancient Athens allows it to read as a timeless fable, deeply relevant to a modern society that sees itself as pursuing material prosperity to the point of self-destruction. The first half of the play offers a satirical vision of a world of artifice and insincerity. The second half is a startlingly experimental drama in which a succession of Timon's real and false friends unsuccessfully challenge his commitment to his life as a misanthropic recluse in the woods. The play's plot structure is schematically clear, and the poetry of Timon's rage is arresting in its savage intensity. Yet readers have often detected loose ends, and the tone of writing is uneven. In his Introduction, John Jowett explains how these characteristics arise because the play was written as a collaboration between Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton. This edition pays full justice to Middleton's presence, explaining how his contribution gave the play its distinctive edge. We as readers need to read this play as a dialogue between writers of different temperaments, and this edition is the first to make such a reading possible. The Introduction provides the fullest account of the play's performance history available. The commentary is the most detailed ever to have been published. Appendices include source materials and a listing of major productions world-wide.
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actors Alcibiades Apemantus Athenian authorship banquet beast bevington bounty capell caphis Chicago Shakespeare Theater comedy Compare Compositor conj contrast Coriolanus debt Dent dramatic dramatist e’en earth emendation Enter episode epitaph Exeunt Exit Flaminius Folio fool for’t fortune friends gods gold ha’s hath Holdsworth honour human Jay Williams jewels King Lear ladies Lear lines divided live Lord Timon Lucius Lucullus Mammon masque Middleton Middletonian misanthropy nature Nice Valour OED’s earliest example oxford shakespeare passage Paul Scofield performance perhaps Philotas phrase Phrynia play play’s Plutarch Plutus Poet and Painter pope production proverbial quire refers Revenger’s rich role Romeo rowe satire scene second senator sense servant Servilius sexual Shadwell’s Shakespearian soldier speak speech stage directions Steward Stratford-upon-Avon subs suggests Theatre thee There’s thieves thou Timandra Timon of Athens tion Tragedy Troilus varro’s Ventidius verse divided Volpone wealth whores words Yorkshire Tragedy