A prayer to dogs

OK, so a couple of days back, I talked a little about Apemantus’ grace, delivered before the Act One, Scene Two, feast in Timon of Athens. Mixing prose, blank verse, and a section of rhyming doggerel, it had a little something for everyone. At least, everyone who loves a heapin’ pile o’ cynicism.

Let’s jump to Act Three, Scene Six, and Timon’s gods-thanking speech, a quasi-grace before the last (and Worst.) feast (Ever.)…

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A prayer in the dog pound

Over the course of the next few days, I want to take a closer look, a deeper dive, into a couple of related speeches in Timon of Athens.

Both are prayers of a sort.

Let us begin with our cynic, Apemantus…

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Dog-gone: of cynics and misanthropes

OK, in Act Four of Timon of Athens, Timon ‘introduces’ himself to Alcibiades as “Misanthropos” (IV.iii.54). Interestingly, the words ‘misanthrope’ and ‘misanthropy’ didn’t exist in Shakespeare’s day (and no, he didn’t invent them). “Misanthropos” is Timon’s self-moniker (Timon Misanthropos) from Shakespeare’s source material in Plutarch (though the version I quoted earlier in our discussion on sources seems to have left it out), and I’m guessing that enough people were aware of this for Shakespeare to use the reference.

And I’ve seen some people paint Apemantus with a broad brush as an misanthrope as well. (Did I? Let me check. Yup, I was just as guilty in my Act One review… and then again and again… bad Bill, bad). But Apemantus is not a misanthrope. He’s a cynic (but maybe even more than that, a Cynic).

What’s the difference, you ask?

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A question of authorial attribution (again)

OK, I’ve talked a little about the whole “second playwright” issue with Timon of Athens–i.e., Shakespeare did not act alone. From what I’ve read on the subject (and remember, this is pre-”New Oxford Shakespeare”/Word-Adjacency-Network revelations), Thomas Middleton’s fingerprints are all over Act One, Scene Two, all of Act Three, and the last 80 lines of Act Four, Scene Three, of this play.

And after my initial read, I wondered about my early feelings/hunches about the play:

it’s going to be interesting when I take my second dive into the text, to see if I can tell the difference between what has been considered to be the division of labor.
  • NOVEMBER 6, 2016

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A tale of two epitaphs

OK, so Timon of Athens. Lots of critics have lots of issues with this play. One of them has to do with the ending.

Sure, Timon just disappears three scenes before the end of the play. He says he’s going to go and die. And he disappears. But after our last play, in which Antony of our title couple is gone for the entire final act, this seems like less a big deal.

Thus, the absence isn’t the problem here. No, it’s a doubled presence.

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Alcibiades’ Econ Lecture

What, with all this wealth and money talk this past week, I’m finding some interesting language in the center-most scene in Timon of Athens. And if you think Timon’s in on the action in that midpoint scene, you’d be wrong.

But today’s title might clue you in on who is…

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Timon of Athens: The value of money, part two

Yesterday, I discussed the three denominations of money used in Timon of Athens (talents, solidares, and crowns), and their relative worths. I also touched upon some of the talent references in the first two acts.

At that point, we’d concluded that Timon owes at the very least $375 million dollars. And his current estate and movables total around $180 million. It’s easy to see how he appears so prosperous.

But this is where it gets confusing…

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Timon of Athens: The value of money

A couple of days back, I posited–for the sake of argument–that Timon of Athens is about wealth. Given the play does a great job of documenting all the ways one can accumulate said wealth, I’m leaning toward taking ‘argument’s sake’ out of the equation.

And if the play is about wealth, then what is the value of money within the play? Well, the answer to that question is somewhat confusing, as it seems the playwright(s) may have been confused.

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Video Review: Timon of Athens, BBC, 1981

In 1981, as part of the third season of its Collected Works series, the BBC tackled one of only 5 plays that hadn’t been produced by the network before this project, Timon of Athens.

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Podcast 140: Timon of Athens: dirty bits and writing credits [EXPLICIT]


[WARNING: The the first portion of the following podcast contains adult language, sexual imagery, and stuff to make you say, “Man, that’s a dirty play.” You HAVE been warned. SKIP TO THE 10:10 MARK IF  EASILY OFFENDED.]


This week’s podcast continues our three month-long discussion of Timon of Athens with a look at bawdy in the play as well as (co-)authorship questions.

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