This thesis discusses one of Shakespeare’s most obscure plays, The Life of Timon of Athens, a play which portrays the economic and social fall of a character named Timon.
This play has often been viewed as an economically focused work and as a critique of money and wealth; however there are other legitimate approaches to the play, and other important aspects of the work, frequently overlooked in its prominent discussion and analysis. This thesis presents new approaches which may be taken to the play, in order to better appreciate its themes and poetic depiction.
There are clear economic factors in the play, and this thesis will provide an analysis of the work in relation to aspects of the economic context in which the play was written, linking the play to significant features of Renaissance England.
The thesis discussion will also attempt to show that The Life of Timon of Athens is in fact far more than an economic work, providing an analysis of the play’s poetry, historical context, and significant literary, artistic and philosophical traditions, which together offer a basis for alternatives to economically focused interpretations. When such factors are taken into account, the thematic constituents of The Life of Timon of Athens extend well beyond economic aspects alone.
When this thesis was prepared for publishing, there were some difficulties, including technical challenges with a computer, and a few errors in the thesis text were discovered. On page 10, the correct sentence is: “Applied criticism” is here defined: “applied criticism [...] concerns itself with particular works and writers; in an applied critique, the theoretical principles controlling the analysis, interpretation and evaluation are often left implicit, or brought in only as the occasion demands.On page 11, the correct sentence is:The symbol / is used to show where a quoted line of poetic text ends and a new one begins.