Character Directory

TIMON

Timon is the title character and a benevolent nobleman of Athens who is abandoned by his false friends when he is bankrupted by his extravagant hospitality and gift giving. He then sinks into rage and despair. He withdraws to the wilderness where he rages against humanity and dies in abject misery, an apparent suicide. He is the victim of his own excesses of both goodness and hatred. 

Timon's excessive generosity is based in misplaced pride, for he attempts to embody an unrealistic ideal of friendship. When he refuses to be repaid for a debt, he says irrationally that 'there's none / Can truly say he gives, if he receives' (1.2.10-11). This absoluteness is unhealthy, for it leaves no room for a sensitive and intelligent approach to life. Timon is blind and gullible, and he ignores the sound, if unpleasantly put, advice of Apementus. When he is rejected by his so called friends he assumes an extreme degree of misanthropy, a response that is excessive even given his great provocation. Timon presumes that all of humankind is greedy and dishonest, but this is clearly contradicted by the virtues of his own household especially his Steward. He refuses to accept this evidence, however, and drives himself to a death as unnecessary as his financial losses were. At the play's close, the reconciliation effected by Alcibiades cements our awareness that Timon has tragically wasted his life. 

Nevertheless, Timon is a noble figure, for he tries to live up to an ideal conception of humanity. Before his collapse he desires the finest in human relationships, and while this has the effect of insulating him from reality, it also exalts him. It is both symbolically and psychologically appropriate that when he becomes disillusioned Timon succumbs to another excessive vision of humanity. Obsessive by nature, he can only go from one extreme to another. In both cases, the position he takes is grandiose, capable of inspiring awe along with dismay. 

Like most of the characters in the play, Timon is not a fully fleshed-out human being. He is more like an allegorical figure, similar to those of the medieval Morality Play, a probable influence on Shakespeare's creation of this work. In fact, Timon assumes two such roles in the course of the play, first representing ideal friendship and then extreme despair. As a misanthrope, Timon had been a famous figure for many centuries before Shakespeare's time, but the playwright attempted to demonstrate the defects of the character both before and after his catastrophe, and thus to make a profound moral statement of the sort presented in the morality plays. Although Timon is an unfinished play, we can still recognize in its title character the representation of a human truth: that we are susceptible to vain and prideful extremes of behavior.

LUCIUS

Lucius is an ungrateful friend to Timon. In 3.2 Lucius hears that Lucullus has refused to assist Timon with a loan after Timon has impoverished himself by showering gifts on his friends. Like Lucullus, Lucius is also the beneficiary of Timon's excessive generosity, and he proudly declares to Hostilus and two visitors that he would never turn away a friend. However, when Timon's servant Servilius appears and asks for help, Lucius brazenly declares that he cannot make a loan. The hypocritical Lucius helps demonstrate—with Lucullus and Sempronius—the callousness of the Athenian aristocrats, one of the play's important themes.

LUCULLUS

Lucullus is an ungrateful friend of Timon.  In 1.2 Lucullus is among the guests at Timon's banquet.  In 2.2 when Timon finds that his extravagant hospitality has bankrupted him, Lucullus is among those he presumes he can count on for assistance.  However, when Lucullus is approached by Timon's servant Flaminius for a loan, he declares that he had warned his friend.  With unconscious irony, he says, 'Many a time and often I ha'din'd with him, and ...come again to supper to him of purpose to have him spend less' (3.1.23-25).  He sums up his position when he observes that 'this is no time to lend money, especially upon bare friendship, without security' (3.1.41-43).  He then tries to hide his ingratitude by bribing Flaminius to say he could not be found.  Like Lucius and Sempronius, whose similar responses occur in the new two scenes, Lucullus helps demonstrate the heartlessness of the Athenian aristocrats, one of the play's important themes.

SEMPRONIUS Sempronius is an ungrateful friend of Timon. Sempronius is among the friends to whom Timon sends for assistance when he faces bankruptcy after he has showered his friends—including Sempronius—with expensive gifts However, when Sempronius is approached bf Timon's Servant, he pretends to be offended that Timon has gone to other friends first and he refuse to lend him money. 'Who bates mine honor shall not know my coin' (3.3.28), he declares. Sempronius with Lucius and Lucullus who have similarly rejected Timon's request in previous scenes—help to demonstrate the hypocrisy and cold-heartedness of the Athenian aristocracy, one of the play's important themes.
VENTIDIUS

Ventidius is an ungrateful recipient of Timon’s generosity. In 1.1 Timon sends the money needed to free Ventidius from debtor's prison, and in 1.2 Ventidius thanks him and offers to return the money, but Timon refuses repayment. Ventidius observes: 'A noble spirit!' (1.2. 14), and he does not speak again. However, when Timon has bankrupted himself through extravagant generosity, he sends to several friends for help, and Ventidius—who has in the meantime inherited a fortune—is among them. Act 3 begins with Timon being repudiated by a series of his miserly friends, in the course of which it is mentioned that Ventidius has also denied assistance. Ventidius does not reappear after 1.2, and he is simply an emblem of the callous greed that permeates the aristocracy of Athens.  Commentators have often remarked on the oddity of Shakespeare's having so dramatically established Ventidius' indebtedness, only to omit, on-stage, his refusal to help his benefactor. In fact, this peculiarity has been offered as evidence that the authorship of the play is divided: Shakespeare may have introduced Ventidius' story and another playwright disposed of it too casually, or vice versa. However, if this is an error—and a case can be made that the anticlimax is effective because it reinforces Act 3's message—then it may simply reflect the fact that Timon is an incomplete work, as most scholars believe.

ALCIBIADES

Alcibiades (c. 450-404 B.C.) is an Athenian general and friend of Timon. Alcibiades is faithful to Timon in adversity and thereby counteracts the play's theme of false friendship. He is most significant as the central figure in a parallel plot in which he is pitted against the cold-hearted, legalistic aristocracy of Athens. Like Timon he is the subject of ingratitude and a heartless application of the system and its laws. However, Alcibiades takes action and avenges himself. Thus he is placed in sharp contrast with Timon and his passive withdrawal into misanthropy and madness. Then, at the play's close, his humane nature permits a reconciliation, an ending that offers the central lesson of the play: the superiority of mercy over justice in human affairs. 

Unlike Timon, Alcibiades realises that good can exist in a world that is evil, and that mercy is a greater corrective for society than revenge. In his final tribute to 'noble Timon' (5.4.80), Alcibiades extends his mercy to the misanthrope himself. Though Timon, as a suicide, cannot participate in the play's ultimate spirit of reconciliation, his extreme hatred is forgiven and finally countered. 

For the first half of the play, Alcibiades is clearly an honest friend amidst a group of obviously insincere and hypocritical courtiers that surround Timon, but he is a minor figure. He assumes importance in 3.5, the pivotal scene of the play, when he pleads with the Athenian rulers for mercy on behalf of a veteran soldier sentenced to death for murder. Alcibiades argues that 'pity is the virtue of the law' (3.5.8). This reflects a central concern not only of the play but of Shakespearean drama in general. Banished from Athens because he has questioned authority, he promises revenge, and in 5.1 he threatens to sack the city. Thus, he is clearly in opposition to callous ingratitude while at the same time he threatens disaster for the entire city. Such a catastrophe—though here only potential—demonstrates how immoral behavior among the ruling class leads to trouble for the entire society, a lesson Shakespeare repeatedly offered in the History Plays, the Roman Plays, and elsewhere. Alcibiades is both opponent and savior for the 'coward and lascivious' Athens (5.4.1). 

Alcibiades is the only character in Timon of Athens who is at all fleshed out. He prefers his profession, soldiering, to the banquets of Timon's world, and his controlled anger in his encounter with the Senate is impressive. He knows himself—'I speak like a captain'. he says (3.5.42)—and he can plead for a friend. He also understands the self-exiled Timon—as Timon himself cannot—and sees that 'his wits / Are drown'd and lost in his calamities' (4.3.89-90). In these respects Alcibiades seems somewhat at odds with the rest of the play, which relies heavily on the bold symbolism of allegorical characters. Perhaps this unresolvable contrast contributed to Shakespeare's decision to leave Timon unfinished. 

The fascinating career of the historical Alcibiades is only faintly reflected in Shakespeare's character. Alcibiades was a brilliant though unstable young aristocrat who led an ostentatiously decadent life but nevertheless became an influential general and leading politician. However, despite his political power, he faced banishment for his part in a sacrilegious mutilation of icons. He fled to avoid trial and joined Athens' enemies, the Spartans. They mistrusted him and he moved on and joined their allies, the Persians, whom he tried to win to an alliance with Athens. From exile, he maintained contact with the turbulent Athenian political world and was thus able to assume command of the Athenian fleet, over the objections of the government. 

Shakespeare's source, Plutarch’s Lives, states that Alcibiades refused the navy's demand that he attack the city; this is the germ of Shakespeare's account. Actually, though on his return Alcibiades was supported by a revolutionary government that arose in Athens at that time, there was no question of his attacking the city. He fought the Spartans and Persians with such success that the Athenians gave him total command of the armed forces. However, a minor loss permitted his enemies to revive popular resentment against him, and he again left Athens and took refuge with Spartan allies in Phrygia. There, he was murdered by agents of conservative Athenians who had returned to power and made peace with Sparta. Alcibiades was a byword for treachery in the ancient world, though it was also recognized that the Athenians were foolish to follow political loyalties and discard a military genius when they most needed him.

APEMANTUS

Apemantus is an angry, misanthropic philosopher. Apemantus' vulgar insults and remarks offer a strong critique of both the gullible Timon and the Athenians who sponge off him. In this he resembles a Chorus, and he provides a running commentary on the action of the main plot. Like such similar figures Jaques and Thersites, Apemantus is distinctly unlikeable. This quality ensures his isolation from the other characters and thus assures audiences that his observations are impartial. His cynical attitude, condemned by various characters, proves to be the one adopted by Timon himself in the end. Apemantus disappears after 2.2, and returns in 4.3 to exchange insults with Timon once the former nobleman has retreated to a life of rage and despair in the woods near Athens. Though unlikeable, Apemantus still has right on his side, and when he tells Timon, 'the middle of humanity thou never knewest, but the extremity of both ends' (4.3.301-302), he pinpoints the major defect in Timon's personality. Apemantus refuses to alter his opinions or personality to suit the circumstances of his patron, and this gives him great moral stature compared with Timon's false friends. When this is combined with the honesty of his insults, Apemantus counteracts the play's atmosphere of bleak despair. He helps makes it clear that Timon's misanthropic attitude is not that of the play or the playwright.

FLAVIUS Flavius is the manager of Timon's household.  The Steward cannot make Timon refrain from the extravagant generosity that finally bankrupts hi8m, but he nevertheless remains loyal to his master when he loses all.  In 4.2 Flavius leads Timon's employees as they regret their master's fate, and in 4.3 and 5.1 he visits his exiled master, who has withdrawn to the woods outside Athens. Timon is misanthropic in his mad despair, but he must make an exception for this faithful servant.  He declares 'I do proclaim/One honest man', and adds 'How fain would I have hated all makind' (4.3.500-501;' 503).  Flavius virtue counters Timon's absolute hatred of humankind.  Flavius is thus very important to the play, for it is through this character that Shakespeare most clearly demonstrates that Timon's bleak view of humanity is not the vision of the play.  Like most of the play's characters, Flavius is not a complex human being, but is rather an emblematic figure who embodies the virtues of pity and loyalty.
Poet

Poet is a flatterer of Timon. In 1.1 the Poet and his friend the Painter discuss Timon's generosity, which each hopes to exploit when he presents the nobleman with an example of his art. Pompously self-satisfied, the Poet congratulates himself on being a poet from whom art 'oozes' (1.1.21). He anticipates the play's truths when he tells that the poem he is writing, in which Timon is shown as a favorite of the goddess Fortune, contains the warning that when Fortune changes, her exfavorites are abandoned by their seemingly loyal followers. Though the Poet is not mentioned in Timon's downfall, he is presumably among the deserters, for in 5.1 he and the Painter attempt to reingratiate themselves with him because they have heard that their one-time benefactor has found gold. Timon overhears him planning 'what I shall say I have provided for him' (5.1.32), though in fact he has written no poems for him. When he and the Painter fawningly assure Timon of their friendship, he mocks them and drives them away. The Poet is an emblematic character, satirically representative of the greed and hypocrisy of courtiers.

Painter

Painter is a flatterer of Timon. In 1.1 the Painter and his friend the Poet anticipate that they will profit from Timon's generosity when they present him with examples of their art. The Painter speaks much less than his friend, but shares his pride and false modesty. He agrees with the Poet that though Timon is now prosperous, this can change, and the 'quick blows of Fortune' (1.1.93) may reduce their host to poverty and friendlessness. Though the Painter is not among the disloyal friends depicted in Timon's downfall, he is not unlike them. In 5.1 he joins the Poet in an attempt to resume their approach to their one-time benefactor in the belief that his fortunes have again improved. 'Therefore', says the Painter, ' 'tis not amiss we tender our loves to him' (5.1.12-13). He is unconcerned that he has never painted anything for Timon. He imagines that a promise of future work is as 'Good as the best. Promising is the very air o' th' time ... To promise is most courtly and fashionable' (5.1.22-27). However, Timon understands what they are up to, and drives them away. The Painter, like his friend the Poet, is a satirical emblem of the greed and hypocrisy of courtiers.

Jeweller

Jeweler is a flatterer of Timon. As the play opens, the Jeweler proposes to sell a jewel to Timon, confident that the nobleman will pay a good price. Later in 1.1 he flatters his potential client. The Jeweler is simply a representative greedy flatterer.

Merchant Merchant is a flatterer of Timon.  In 1.1 the Merchant and his friend the Jeweler discuss Timon's free-spending nature and intend to profit from it. The Merchant speaks little and serves chiefly as a sounding board for his colleague. Both of them are representative greedy flatterers.
Old Athenian

Old Athenian is a citizen of Athens. In 1.1 the Old Athenian asks the wealthy nobleman Timon to protect his daughter from the courtship of Timon's servant Lucilus, who is socially inferior to his intended bride. The magnanimous Timon solves the problem by providing Lucilius with enough money to be considered eligible. The episode helps establish Timon's extravagant generosity. The Old Athenian is a crude caricature of a social type; the snobbish minor gentleman willing to marry his daughter off for money.

FLAMINIUS Flaminius is a servant of Timon.  In 2.2 Flaminius is told to ask Lord Lucullus for a loan to assist his master, whose extravagant generosity-to Lucullus, among others-has led him to bankruptcy, However, in 3.1 Lucullus refuses, and tries to hide his ingratitude by bribing Flaminius to say he could not be found, but the loyal servant is outraged and flings the offered coins at Lucullus.  He follows this gesture with an heated condemnation that helps emphasize one of the play's major themes: the appalling ingratitude of the Athenian aristocracy Flaminius' major function is to further the unfolding of Timon's abandonment by his friends.
LUCILIUS

Lucilius is a servant of Timon. When an Old Athenian complains to Timon that the socially inferior Lucilius is courting his daughter, Timon promises Lucilius a fortune and thus makes him acceptable. The episode helps establish Timon's generosity and extravagance. Lucilius speaks very little and serves merely to further the plot.

SERVILIUS

Servilius is a servant of Timon. In 2.2 Servilius is sent to ask Lord Lucius to assist Timon with a loan, but in 3 2 Lucius refuses, though he has benefited from the extravagant generosity that has created Timon's money troubles. The episode serves to demonstrate the miserly ingratitude of the Athenian aristocracy an important theme of the play. Servilius, though he appears briefly elsewhere, simply serves to further the plot.

CAPHIS

Caphis is a servant of a Senator. In 2.1 the Senator sends Caphis to collect a debt from Timon, who he fears will soon be bankrupt. The servant barely speaks and serves simply as a vehicle for the Senator's greed. In 2.2 he joins other servants in asking Timon for payment on their masters' behalf.

PHILOTUS

Philotus in the employee of a usurer who duns Timon for payment of a loan. In 3.4 Philotus joins other servants when they approach Timon and his Steward for repayment, but they are put off. They regret that they must solicit for their greedy masters, who have benefited from Timon's generosity but are now merciless when he is in need. 

Philotus appears with Hortensius, Titus, Lucius’ Servant and two men designated as Varro’s Servant. Since the latter three are addressed as 'Lucius' and 'Varro' (3.4.2, 3), it is presumed that Shakespeare intended the names of the first three to refer to their masters, as well. This perhaps reflects a casual linguistic practice of the early 17th century.

TITUS

Titus is the employee of a creditor of Timon. In 3.4 Titus and other servants dun Timon and his Steward for repayment of various loans, but they are put off. Titus introduces the theme of the episode when he observes that their masters, who solicit Timon for money, wear jewels that Timon had given them before he went bankrupt. The other servants join him, and together they regret that they must serve such greedy men, who were once the beneficiaries of Timon's generosity but are now his merciless creditors. 

Titus appears with Hortensius, Philotus, Lucius' Servant and two men designated as Varro’s Servant.  Since the latter three are addressed as 'Lucius' and 'Varro' (3.4.2, 3), it is presumed that Shakespeare intended the names of the first three to refer to their masters as well. This perhaps reflects a casual linguistic practice of the early 17th century.

LUCIUS Lucius is an ungrateful friend to Timon.  In 3.2 Lucius hears that Lucullus has refused to assist Timon with a loan after Timon with a loan after Timon has impoverished himself by showering gifts on his friends.  Like Lucullus, Lucius is also the beneficiary of Timon's excessive generosity, and he proudly declares to Hostilius and two visitors that he would never turn away a good friend.  However, when Timon's servant Servilius appears and asks for help. Lucius brazenly declares that he cannot make a loan.  The hypocritical Lucius helps demonstrate with Lucullus and Sempronius the callousness of Athenian aristocrats, one of the play's important themes.
HORTENSIUS

Hortensius is the servant to a creditor of Timon. In 3.4 Hortensius and other servants unsuccessfully dun Timon and his Steward for payment. The servants regret their assignment, for their greedy masters have benefited from Timon's generosity. Hortensius is especially vocal, and he says, 'I know my lord hath spent of Timon's wealth, / And now ingratitude makes it worse than stealth' (3.4.27-28). He thus stresses one of the play's important themes, the callousness of the aristocracy of Athens.

Hortensius appears with Titus, Philotus, Lucius Servant and two men who are each designated as Varro’s Servant.  Since the latter three are addressed as 'Lucius' and 'Varro' (3.4.2, 3), it is presumed that Shakespeare intended the names of the first three to refer to their masters as well, perhaps reflecting a casual linguistic practice of the early 17th century.

Hostilius

Hostilius is a visitor to Athens. With his companions, the First and Second Strangers, Hostilius witnesses the callous rejection of Timon’s request for assistance by the miserly Lucius, in 3.2. Lucius has just insisted to Hostilius that he would always help his generous former patron. Like his friends, Hostilius represents a detached judgment on the selfish citizens of Athens—the First Stranger explicitly makes the case. This is an episode of a type familiar from the medieval Morality Play that serves to fix the play's moral point of view. In some editions Hostilius, who is named in 3.2.64, is designated as the Second Stranger.

Page

Page is an illiterate messenger who asks Apemantus to read the addresses on letters he is to deliver. The Page is an employee of the same courtesan as the Fool, and has no place in the play's plot. His brief appearance is sometimes taken as evidence of a non-Shakespearean hand in the composition of the play. However, the episode closely resembles that of the illiterate Servant in Romeo and Juliet, and most scholars now conclude that the Page is Shakespeare's invention. He was probably part of a subplot that remained undeveloped when the playwright abandoned this incomplete play.

Fool

Fool is a professional jester. This Fool accompanies Apemantus in 2.2 and exchanges witticisms with Varro’s Servant and others. He is apparently employed by a courtesan who is the subject of two jests about venereal disease, but his circumstances and was not developed. His major speech (2.2.112-118) contains a pithy condemnation of Athens, which furthers an important theme of the play. However. most commentators believe that he may represent a false start for the playwright, who introduced him with the intention of developing a subplot around mm and then did not do so before he abandoned this incomplete play.

Strangers

The strangers are visitors to Athens.  In 3.2 the Strangers accompany Hostilius, who is also a visitor, and they witness the callousness of Lucius, who refuses to assist his former patron, Timon.  The First Stranger's appalled remarks capture the play's condemnation of the heartless greed of Timon's faithless friends.  'I never tasted Timon in my life', he says, 'Yet I protest' (3.2.79-81).  Because he is detached, he assumes the position of a judge, He protests against 'the monstrousness of man' (3.2.89-89).  The Second Stranger speaks only half a line but its quiet condemnation-'Relgion groans at it' (3.2.78)-powerfully reinforces his companion's critique.  The episode resembles scenes found in medieval Morality Plays.  It stresses the play's moral point of view and also helps the audience recognize that Timon's characters are at least as much didactic models as they are psychological types.  The Strangers are sometimes considered to be three in number.  In the First Folio text of the play and some other editions Hostilius is designated as the Second Stranger, in which case the religious remark in 3.2.78 is given to a Third Stranger.

PHRYNIA and TIMANDRA

Phrynia and Timandra are concubines of Alcibiades. In 4.3 Phrynia and her colleague Timandra are traveling with Alcibiades and encounter Timon in the woods. They generally speak in unison, and are entirely indistinguishable from each other. In his misanthropic fury, Timon has decided to corrupt humanity by distributing the gold he has found. He gives some to the courtesans and accompanies the gift with vicious insults. They laughingly encourage his abuse so long as it is accompanied by gold. This mildly humorous passage satirizes greed, and also provides a slight respite from Timon's grim misanthropy. Both women represent a stock comic figure, the greedy whore.

Servants

First group of servants are workers in Timon’s household. In 4 2 the Servants, under the Steward, remain faithful to Timon when his false friends desert him. Though they must leave the bankrupt household to find other work, they remain -fellows still, / Serving alike in sorrow' (4.2.18-19), as one of them puts it. In their loyalty they contrast tellingly with Timon's unfaithful aristocratic friends, and they emphasize one of the play's main themes: the callous heartlessness of Athens' ruling class. The Servants are mostly anonymous, though two of them, Flaminius and Servilius are named in 2.2 and Act 3 and may be present in 4 2' Also, a Third Servant—as he is designated in the stage direction at 3.3.1-distinguishes himself with a scathing monologue criticizing the miserly hypocrite Sempronius, in 3.3.29-43.  A second servant is a worker in the household of Lucullus. In 3.1 the Servant greets Flaminius, who has come from Timon to borrow money from Lucullus. Lucullus ignobly refuses to make the loan. The Servant, who brings wine and speaks one line when he reappears, serves to indicate the affluent life of his miserly master.

Cupid

Cupid is the name taken by a Lady who leads the Masque in 1.2. Her disguise as the Roman god of love demonstrates both the fashionable neoclassicism of such aristocratic entertainments and the slightly lascivious quality that enlivened many of them.

Lords

Lords are flatterers of Timon. In 1.1 two Lords—designated First and Second Lords but indistinguishable from one another—are criticized by Apemantus as dishonest flatterers whose intent is to profit from Timon's generosity. As soon as he departs, the Lords laugh over their good fortune in knowing Timon, and it is clear that Apemantus' judgement was correct. In 1.2 a Third Lord joins them and their flattery is again mocked by Apemantus; all are rewarded with expensive gifts. In 3.6 four Lords gather to receive more bounty, even after they have given patently self-serving excuses why they cannot make loans to the newly impoverished Timon. However, Timon curses them and throws them out, and we see no more of them. The Lords have one personality trait between them—they are greedy hypocrites. They talk about their generosity, but are actually misers. Some commentators have identified these characters with Timon's faithless friends, Lucius, Lucullus, Sempronius, and Ventidius.

Senators The senators are the aristocratic legislators of Athens.  They benefit from Timon's hospitality, but in 2.1 a Senator begins the process of the protagonist's downfall.  He recognizes that Timon is losing his wealth in reckless generosity, and he decides to dun his one-time benefactor for a debt before 'Lord Timon will be left a naked gull' (2.1.31).  The Senators' cold ingratitude is made vivid by Timon's Steward who tells that they refused aid for his master 'in a join and corporate voice and,,,After distasteful looks..and cold-moving nods,/They froze me into silence' (2.2.208-217).  In 3.5 this hard-heatedness is displayed in a different way when the senators refuse to accept Alcibiades' argument for mercy towards an honorable veteran.  Instead, they banish the pleader, who in response vows to conquer the city.  In Act 5 the Senators unsuccessfully attempt to win back Timon as an ally against Alcibiades, and in 5.4 they are reduced to begging for mercy.  The avenging general Alcibiades grants the mercy in the play's closing atmosphere of reconciliation.  Thus, the Senators' callousness has informed both of the play's plot lines, and helps to demonstrate a favorite lesson of Shakespeare's: that the immorality of the ruling class can produce disorder and potential ruin for the society as a whole.
Bandits

Bandits are thieves who hope to rob Timon.  In 4.3 after Timon has withdrawn from Athens to the woods in rage and despair because he has been abandoned by his friends, the Bandits learn that he has found gold and they accost him. They don't know that he intends to give it away in an attempt to corrupt hateful humanity. He ironically praises them for being obvious thieves, and compares them to those who pretend to be good citizens. He gives them gold and encourages them to commit more crimes. 'Cut throats. / All that you meet are thieves. To Athens go ...' (4.3.448-449), he says. As they leave, the Bandits remark on Timon's misanthropy. Two of the three contemplate giving up thievery since it is advocated by so malicious a man. As the Third Bandit puts it, 'H'as almost charm'd me from my profession, by persuading me to it' (4.3.453-454). Collectively called 'banditti' in the stage direction that introduces them, at 4.3.401, the Bandits are designated as Thieves in many editions.

Messenger

In 1.1 two Messengers bring Timon news, first of the imprisonment for debt of Ventidius, and later of the approach of Alcibiades. In 5.2 a Messenger reports on Alcibiades' march on Athens.  These may well be different men—servants of Ventidius, Timon, and an anonymous Senator, respectively—but they are indistinguishable and serve to inform the audience of off-stage events.

Lucius' Servant

Lucius' Servant is the employee of Lucius, a former friend and creditor of Timon. In 3.4 Lucius' Servant joins a group of colleagues who unsuccessfully dun Timon and his Steward for repayment of loans. He and his fellows regret the necessity of serving greedy masters who once benefited from Timon's generosity. However, Lucius' Servant is somewhat more aggressive in demanding payment. He observes that Timon's has been a 'prodigal course' (3.4.12), and rejects an excuse of ill health, offered by Timon's servant, when he says, 'Methinks he should the sooner pay his debts /And make a clear way to the gods' (3.4.74-75). He thus reflects the atrocious behavior of his master, who in 3.2 hypocritically refuses to assist the impoverished Timon after he has declared that he would help a friend in need.

Varro's Servant

Varro (Varrus) is a soldier in the army of Brutus. In 4.3 Varro and Claudius are ordered to sleep in the same tent with Brutus to be available as messengers They sleep through the visitation of the Ghost of Caesar and Brutus wakes them to confirm that they have seen nothing. In the first edition of Julius Caesar, that in the First Folio, Varro's name is rendered as Varrus, and some modern editors follow the Folio in this respect. Others, however, use Varro, which is correct in Latin and appears in Shakespeare's source, North’s translation of Plutarch’s Lives

Isidore's Servant Isidore's is an employee of Isidore, a creditor of Timon. In 2.2 Isidore's Servant, with Caphis and Varro’s Servant, solicits Timon and his Steward for payment, but they are put off. These servants of greedy masters are pawns of plot development; Isidore's Servant speaks even less than the others.

 

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