Timon of Athens | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Timon of Athens | Characters

Character Description
Timon Timon is an Athenian aristocrat who spends lavishly on gifts for his friends and followers. When his money runs out he is surprised to find himself abandoned by even his closest associates. Read More
Flavius Flavius is Timon's loyal steward, the head of his household staff. He tries to warn Timon of his mounting debt and impending financial ruin, but Timon refuses to listen. Read More
Alcibiades Alcibiades is the leader of the Athenian army and a good friend of Timon's. When the senate banishes Alcibiades in Act 3, he turns his army against the city to purge it of corrupt politicians. Read More
Apemantus A Cynic philosopher who rejects wealth and luxury, Apemantus spends much of the play criticizing Timon's vanity and gullibility and lashing out against the other Athenians for their lack of integrity. Read More
Banditti A trio of unnamed "banditti" (bandits) visits Timon in Act 4, Scene 3. Hoping to seize some of his gold by force, they are startled when he gives it away freely.
Caphis Caphis is the servant of an unnamed Athenian senator. In Act 2 he is among the first to be sent to Timon's house to collect a debt.
Cupid "Cupid"—actually a dancer dressed as Cupid—is the "emcee" of the lavish floorshow during Timon's banquet in Act 1, Scene 2.
Flaminius Flaminius is a servant of Timon, who sends him on an unsuccessful mission to borrow money from Lucullus in Act 3.
Fool The Fool is by profession a court jester who accompanies Apemantus in Act 2, Scene 2. His sarcastic banter contrasts with Apemantus's more aggressive and openly insulting manner of speech.
Friends A group of characters dubbed Timon's "friends" appears in the second banquet scene (Act 3, Scene 6). Their behavior at the meal reveals them to be parasites who see Timon merely as a source of gifts and favors.
Hortensius A servant of one of Timon's creditors who has been entertained and given things, Hortensius is also sent to collect money from the bankrupt lord. Although he pities Timon's plight, his job forces him to harass him for payment all the same.
Hostilius The only named "stranger" who appears in Act 3, Scene 2, Hostilius gossips about Timon's bankruptcy, filling in details of the plot.
Isidore's man Isidore's man is a servant representing one of Timon's creditors and supposed friends in Act 3. Other characters confusingly refer to him as "Isidore," but it later becomes clear he is merely acting on Isidore's behalf.
Jeweler Among the artists and artisans who flock to Timon's home seeking patronage in Act 1, the jeweler gives Timon a costly jewel, knowing Timon will repay him handsomely.
Lords Many of the wealthy Athenians in the play, including Timon, are referred to as "lords" at various points. In Act 1 the tags "First Lord" and "Second Lord" identify two of Timon's unnamed aristocratic dinner guests.
Lucilius Timon's servant, Lucilius receives one of his master's first deeds of generosity. He wishes to marry the Old Athenian's daughter, and Timon gives him the money to make a respectable match.
Lucius Lucius is an Athenian lord who fawns over Timon early in the play, praising his selfless generosity. In Act 3, however, Lucius fails—like the others—to repay Timon's kindness in any material way.
Lucius's man Sent to collect money from Timon on Lucius's behalf, Lucius's man is somewhat crueler and more cynical than most of the other debt collectors.
Lucullus Lucullus is an Athenian lord who gives Timon gifts in the hope of being repaid with interest. When Timon actually needs his help, however, Lucullus pretends to be broke.
Merchant One of the Athenian commoners who gather before Timon's house in Act 1, Scene 1, the merchant praises Timon's lavish gift giving as a sign of a noble heart.
Old Athenian The Old Athenian appears in Act 1, Scene 1, where he complains to Timon about Lucilius's attempts to woo his daughter. When Timon gives Lucilius enough money to support a wife, the greedy old man relents and agrees to the marriage.
Page A page—a messenger or errand boy—appears for a brief moment in Act 2. Illiterate, he angers Apemantus by asking for help in reading the addresses of some letters he is delivering.
Painter Along with the poet, jeweler, and merchant, the painter is part of the multitude of Athenians who greet Timon in Act 1, Scene 1. Like the poet, the painter is motivated by self-interest and hopes Timon will reward him lavishly for painting his portrait.
Philotus The servant of one of Timon's unnamed creditors and former guests, Philotus has few lines but helps fill out the crowd in Act 3, Scene 4.
Phrynia Phrynia is one of Alcibiades's two concubines who appear in Act 4, Scene 3. She takes offense at Timon's rude behavior until she realizes he has gold to give away.
Poet The poet appears in both Act 1 and Act 5, seeking Timon's patronage for a work not yet completed. He hopes his promise of a future poem will be enough to garner a gift from the famously generous lord.
Sempronius One of the false friends from whom Timon attempts to borrow money in Act 3, Sempronius pretends to be angry with Timon for not asking him to help sooner.
Senators Athens's senators are its political leaders, usually seen onstage in groups of two to four. In their short-sighted arrogance, they provoke a war with Alcibiades and then make a desperate attempt to bring Timon back to defend the city.
Servants Unnamed servants are given small speaking parts throughout Timon. They usually carry messages to and from the various noblemen.
Servilius Servilius is one of Timon's servants, appearing mainly in Act 3. He is sent to borrow money from Lucius, who slyly refuses his request.
Soldier Many soldiers appear in Timon, but most do not have speaking parts. An exception is the soldier in Act 5, Scene 3, who discovers Timon's grave and copies the inscription.
Strangers A group of "strangers," or foreigners, appears in Act 3, Scene 2, where they comment on Timon's sudden downfall.
Timandra Timandra is one of two concubines who accompany Alcibiades as he marches on Athens. Initially annoyed at Timon's misanthropic behavior, she becomes more falsely friendly and cheerful when he starts giving her gold.
Titus Titus is an unnamed creditor's servant who visits Timon to collect money in Act 3, Scene 4.
Varro's first man One of two servants sent by Varro, a creditor, to collect on a debt owed by Timon, Varro's first man visits Timon's home in Act 3, Scene 4.
Varro's second man Varro's second man, like the first, is sent to collect money from Timon in Act 3, Scene 4.
Ventidius Ventidius is an Athenian lord who is jailed for debt in Act 1, then bailed out by Timon. He offers to repay Timon soon afterward but fails to come through when Timon is in need.
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