William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens

Hugh Grady (Arcadia University, (formerly Beaver College))
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Timon of Athens was a proverbial figure for Renaissance humanist writers, an example of an idealist who through bitter experience with his fellow humans becomes a misanthrope, a hater of mankind. William Shakespeare and his collaborator Thomas Middleton dramatized this legend in a play which has challenged generations of readers and play-goers, probing philosophical, economic, and moral issues, trying to take the measure of an extremist position which the play presents as at least in part justified. “Is life worth living?”, Timon and the play named after him ask us; and it is a measure of this play’s deep encounter with nihilism that the answer is not wholly affirmative. The play has repulsed many readers and critics and fascinated and deeply moved others.

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2832 words

Citation: Grady, Hugh. "Timon of Athens". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 June 2004; last revised 22 October 2019. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8362, accessed 14 July 2024.]

8362 Timon of Athens 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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