Timon of Athens: Third Series (Arden Shakespeare)
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Timon of Athens has struck many readers as rough and unpolished, perhaps even unfinished, though to others it has appeared as Shakespeare's most profound tragic allegory. Described by Coleridge as "the stillborn twin of King Lear," the play has nevertheless proved brilliantly effective in performance over the past thirty or forty years.
This edition accepts and contributes to the growing scholarly consensus that the play is not Shakespeare's solo work, but is the result of his collaboration with Thomas Middleton, who wrote about a third of it. The editors offer an account of the process of collaboration and discuss the different ways that each author contributes to the play's relentless look at the corruption and greed of society. They provide, as well, detailed annotation of the text and explore the wide range of critical and theatrical interpretations that the play has engendered. Tracing both its satirical and tragic strains, their introduction presents a perspective on the play's meanings that combines careful elucidation of historical context with analysis of its relevance to modern-day society. An extensive and well-illustrated account of the play's production history generates a rich sense of how the play can speak to different historical moments in specific and rewarding ways.
The Arden Shakespeare has developed a reputation as the pre-eminent critical edition of Shakespeare for its exceptional scholarship, reflected in the thoroughness of each volume. An introduction comprehensively contextualizes the play, chronicling the history and culture that surrounded and influenced Shakespeare at the time of its writing and performance, and closely surveying critical approaches to the work. Detailed appendices address problems like dating and casting, and analyze the differing Quarto and Folio sources. A full commentary by one or more of the play's foremost contemporary scholars illuminates the text, glossing unfamiliar terms and drawing from an abundance of research and expertise to explain allusions and significant background information. Highly informative and accessible, Arden offers the fullest experience of Shakespeare available to a reader.
plunge into’t. He is a man, setting his fate aside,  Of comely virtues; Nor did he soil the fact with cowardice — An honour in him which buys out his fault — But with a noble fury and fair spirit, Seeing his reputation touch’d to death,  He did oppose his foe; And with such sober and unnoted passion He did behove his anger ere ’twas spent, As if he had but prov’d an argument. 1 SENATOR You undergo too strict a paradox,  Striving to make an ugly deed look fair; Your
swell our spirit, He shall be executed presently. [Exeunt Senators. ALCIBIADES Now the gods keep you old enough that you may live  Only in bone, that none may look on you! I’m worse than mad; I have kept back their foes, While they have told their money and let out Their coin upon large interest, I myself Rich only in large hurts. All those for this?  Is this the balsam that the usuring Senate Pours into captains’ wounds? Banishment! It comes not ill; I hate not to be
you clear heavens! Thus much of this will make black white, foul fair, Wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant. Ha, you gods! why this? What, this, you gods?  Why, this Will lug your priests and servants from your sides, Pluck stout men’s pillows from below their heads — This yellow slave Will knit and break religious, bless th’ accurs’d,  Make the hoar leprosy ador’d, place thieves And give them title, knee, and approbation, With senators on the bench. This is it
stuff so fine and smooth That thou art even natural in thine art. But for all this, my honest-natur’d friends,  I must needs say you have a little fault. Marry, ’tis not monstrous in you; neither wish I You take much pains to mend. BOTH Beseech your honour To make it known to us. TIMON You’ll take it ill. BOTH Most thankfully, my lord. TIMON Will you indeed?  BOTH Doubt it not, worthy lord. TIMON There’s never a one of you but trusts a knave That mightily deceives you.
lord. 1 LORD We are so virtuously bound — TIMON And so am I to you. 2 LORD So infinitely endear’d —  TIMON All to you. Lights, more lights! 1 LORD The best of happiness, honour, and fortunes, keep with you. Lord Timon! TIMON Ready for his friends. [Exeunt all but Apemantus and Timon. APEMANTUS What a coil’s here! Serving of becks and jutting-out of bums!  I doubt whether their legs be worth the sums That are given for ’em. Friendship’s full of dregs: Methinks false hearts