ENG 2012 Drama 1

ENG 2012 Drama 1 - 1 Alvarez David Alvarez Professor...

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1 Alvarez David Alvarez Professor Bentley-Baker ENG 2012 21 April 2011 Men Shut Their Doors on a Setting Sun When reading Timon of Athens, the reader usually has a difficult time deciding whether or not to feel compassion towards Timon during his downfall in the drama. William Shakespeare’s play has led many literary critics to several interpretations of Timon. A popular theory behind the confusion of the character is that this Shakespearean drama was never even completed. In an article entitled Truth and Timon of Athens , Lesley Brill states that due to the “lack of complexity in plot, character, and language…the scarcity of data invites variance in interpretation” (Brill, 17). Regardless of completion, many critics have a wide array of hypotheses on Shakespeare’s intentions for Timon. One opinion, expressed by several critics including Jarold Ramsey and G. Wilson Knight, is that Timon “becomes a figure of Christ, a painfully human caricature of the Son of God” (Ramsey, 163). Lewis Walker, author of Timon of Athens and the Morality Tradition, believes Timon to be a character “deeply indebted to the morality tradition” (Walker, 159). He argues that Timon serves a purpose to show the morality of the story, and the effects money has on a person’s perspective toward another. Although many scholars presented valid arguments after analyzing Timon of Athens , it can be argued that Walker’s interpretation is closest to Timon’s true meaning.
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2 Walker believes “the greatest symbols of earthly power in the moralities is to preside at luxurious dinners in one’s hall, waited on by servants, and entertained by loud music” (Walker, 163). The first scene is exactly that, as it takes place at a banquet in Timon’s house. His introductory line in the play is instructions to his servant to bail a friend out of jail. He also proceeds to purchase works from the Poet and Painter, and shower his friends with many of his possessions including “four milk-white horses…two brace of greyhounds…a bay courser” (2.2.275-277) and a jewel. By introducing Timon this way, Shakespeare gives Timon a persona that is respectable, but also admirable. He claims to be satisfied with giving
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This note was uploaded on 03/26/2012 for the course ENC 2012 taught by Professor Danbaker during the Fall '11 term at FIU.

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ENG 2012 Drama 1 - 1 Alvarez David Alvarez Professor...

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