Timon of Athens

May 1, 2013

I’m re-visiting some of Shakespeare‘s plays in advance of a course I’m going on in a few weeks’ time. I remember that years ago I used to describe this play to my school classes as ‘Shakespeare’s video nasty’, and my opinion hasn’t really changed. It fits clearly into the revenge tragedy mode, with the hero driven to extremes, plotting his revenge for the wrongs done to him by others, feigning madness and perhaps also losing his sanity in the crazy world into which he is drawn. In the same time-frame, I think Kyd did better in The Spanish Tragedy, and later, Shakespeare clearly did better with Hamlet. The most annoying thing for me in this play is the thinness of the characterisation, redeemed only by Aaron as a clear fore-runner of Iago. But, I am looking forward to discussing it, and even more, to seeing it in performance.

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