Timon of Athens: initial thoughts

Whew. Timon of Athens. This was a tough read. And not just because of the heavy subject matter and interminable act four curses by Timon. No. It’s tough for another reason.

It just doesn’t seem to be very well written. Most characters feel flat. The structure seems off somehow. And the verse is bad. Lots of short lines, and more than a few overly long ones. We know Shakespeare didn’t work alone on this, and scholars have a good idea of what he did write, and what was written by Thomas Middleton. On my deeper dive, it will be interesting to see how (or if) they match up.

When I first read this play, I was pretty sure I didn’t want to spend two months on it. Just a month, I thought. But as I continue to go over it, I think it might be wise to do two months. And here’s why…

Personal reasons.

  • My older son Kyle graduates from college next month, and we’re heading back east where we’ll spend the holidays (the first without my father). I can easily stretch 1.5 months of material (about what I can foresee off the top of my head [mixed metaphor alert] for this play) into a more leisurely, less stressful two full months.
  • My master’s degree program course this term has its 15-20 page final paper due the first week of January, so less hecticness in the hectic (by default) holiday season is a good thing.
  • It’ll allow me to get a head start reading the next play Coriolanus.
  • And finally I’m dramaturg for a local production of Much Ado About Nothing. Auditions are already starting for a February run, and since I’m also playing Antonio, methinks time is gonna get squeezed.

So, as I look forward, it looks like a weird month or so to come. But I am looking forward to it.

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