(Podcast recorded and produced by Daniel J. Rowe, blog written and edited by Eric Jean)
The table is set, the guests drenched in lukewarm water and the flatterers pelted with rocks. It time for act IV of Shakespeare’s tragedy, Timon of Athens!
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Welcome back Brawlers. Last show Timon’s ‘friends’ were “touched and found base metal” by his servants so that Timon finally figured out that he was penniless and friendless and that pretty much no one but his servants cared that he was totally bankrupt.
With nothing left for him in Athens by the start of act IV, he decides that all human beings are disgusting, two-faced scumbags and so he does the only sensible thing and runs off to live in the wilderness by himself. Insert litany of curses and well-wishes: may your prostitutes be considered virgins, may the young steal from and beat up the old, may your state be a lawless cesspool fueled by avarice and lust.
So, it turns out that the only friends Timon has are his servants, with Flavius being particularly vocal about how it falls to the servants to try to help Timon out however they can. “Flavour’ Flavious runs off to find and continue to serve Timon at the end of scene 2.
Remind you of a certain Kent from act I of King Lear?
Seems that by scene 3, Timon has moved into a cave with a view, at the edge of some woods, right by the seashore. Seems like things might be looking up for this foraging caveman misanthrope.
As he’s digging for some roots to eat, Timon finds some gold. Timon’s about to bury all of it again when he hears some marching music in the distance. He buries most of the gold but keeps some of it, so he can torment the other humans with it, very likely. Alcibiades, who has been banished from Athens and now gathers up an army to assault the city, wanders by Timon and his cave.
Alcibiades figures out who this is but has no idea what happened back in Athens and why Timon is out here in the woods. Just like we have no idea why Alcibiades is leading an army flanked by two prostitutes. But, seeing as they are there, Timon sees an opportunity to use them in the war effort: he gives them gold and asks them to infect every in Athens with the STDs they are undoubtedly carrying. Timon also gives Alcibiades gold to make sure that he slaughters everyone in Athens. Lovely.
As soon a Alcibiades leaves, Apemantus shows up. They swap insult and wish one another a long and painful life, full of suffering, before they quickly part ways.
When Apemantus exits, some bandits, having heard that Timon found gold, show up to steal it. Timon gives them the gold and sends them off to Athens to rob all of the lying thieves in Athens blind. And maybe slit a few throats while they’re at it.
Finally, Flavius shows up and offers his continued service to Timon. His former master is about to turn him away but Flavius manages to convince him that maybe not every human being is a totally reprehensible entity entirely bereft of honestly and worth. So, Timon amends his position: all of humanity needs to die, except for Flavius.So Timon gives him some money and chases him off.
What’s left now that Timon’s given all of his money away. Again?
Tune in to the next episode to find out.
Sonnet 33 read by first-time sonneteer David Kandestin.
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