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Philanthropist versus Misanthrope in “Timon of Athens”

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Essay / Research Paper Abstract

This 4 page paper discusses the way that the title character of “Timon of Athens” embodies both philanthropy and misanthropy at the same time. Bibliography lists 2 sources.

Page Count:

4 pages (~225 words per page)

File: KV32_HVtimath.rtf

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Unformatted sample text from the term paper:

subtlety: he lives at the extreme edge of human experience, either generous to a fault or despising all humanity. This paper explores the contrast between the philanthropist and the misanthrope in the play. Discussion The terms of course both apply to Timon. In the first half of the play, he is shown to be a man of extraordinary generosity; so generous, in fact, that he bankrupts himself by giving away gifts to those he perceives to be his friends. Then when he needs money, those same "friends" refuse to help him, with the result that he leaves Athens, curses the city, and continues in a vein of strident vituperation for the rest of the play. Its as if hes two different people: one kind, one violent. The curses he screams at the city walls are horrific: he wants everyone in Athens to face catastrophe. He hopes the children will turn into brats; the slaves and fools take the place of the Senators; young women have sex in front of their parents in the filthiest way imaginable; sons to beat their fathers to death-it goes on and on; the speech is 40 lines of pure hatred. It ends with Timon hoping that as he grows older, his hatred will also continue to grow until he hates all mankind, not just the Athenians. The fact that Timon seems to lack the depth of some of Shakespeares greatest characters (Hamlet, Othello and so on) has led to speculation that the play is a rough draft that Shakespeare was unable to finish for some reason. But the language is obviously Shakespeares; critics though wonder why he wrote such a play so late in his career. Robert Pierce argues that the way a reader or audience member reacts to the play will depend in ...

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