Shakespeare's Staging
Timon of Athens
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Friday, 22 April 2005 06:17

Timon of Athens (IV.iii): Timon and Apemantus. Furness Image Collection.


Timon is one of the least performed of Shakespeare's plays, and could even be an unfinished script—though its limitations may be ascribed to shared authorship with Thomas Middleton (also involved in revising Macbeth if some scholars are right). The play breaks into two contrasting parts: first the heedless generosity of Timon in his prosperity, and second the unmitigated savagery of his misanthropy after poverty disillusions him about his "friends." The first half can be successfully perfomed as a satire on the venality of various professions (poet, artist, etc.) which even transpose effectively to modern dress, but the unremitting curses of the remainder become wearisome, though modern cynicism has helped revive interest in the play somewhat.The reviewers of the 2008 production at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre (London, UK) had mixed feelings about the play and the production. The great scholar E. K. Chambers thought the play showed symptoms of a nervous breakdown in the author, and the mystical tone of Shakespeare's later plays does show a major shift in perspective from this one. 


Alexander, Peter, ed. Timon of Athens. London: BBC, 1981.

Biggs, Murray. "Adapting Timon of Athens." Shakespeare Bulletin: A Journal of Performance Criticism and Scholarship 10, no. 2 (Spring 1992): 5-10.  

Brailow, David G. "Timon of Athens." Review of Timon of Athens, Shakespeare Repertory Theater, Ruth Page Theater, Chicago. Shakespeare Bulletin 15, no. 3 (1997): 23-24.

Elton, William R. and Edward A. Rauchut, eds. A Selective Annotated Bibliography of Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens." Studies in Renaissance Literature. Lewiston; Queenston; Lampeter: Mellen, 1991.

Osmond, Ian. "Actors' Shakespeare Project: Timon of Athens." Bard In Boston, May 23, 2010.

Pasco, Richard. "Timon of Athens." In Players of Shakespeare: Essays in Shakespearean Performance by Twelve Players with the Royal Shakespeare Company, edited by Philip Brockbank, 129-38. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Ruszkiewicz, John J. "Timon of Athens": An Annotated Bibliography. New York; London: Garland, 1986.

Shaltz, Justin. "Timon of Athens." Review of Timon of Athens, Stratford Festival of Canada. Shakespeare Bulletin 23, no. 1 (Spring 2005): 159-60.

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