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Reid, S.A. (1969). “I Am Misanthropos”—A Psychoanalytic Reading of Shakespeare's “Timon of Athens”. Psychoanal. Rev., 56C(3):442-452.

(1969). Psychoanalytic Review, 56C(3):442-452

“I Am Misanthropos”—A Psychoanalytic Reading of Shakespeare's “Timon of Athens”

Stephen A. Reid

Timon of Athens has received little attention from the psychoanalytic critics, and what comment exists cannot be said to be satisfactory. The play is generally considered1 to be incomplete or unrevised. But this does not account for its neglect, for the play in its present form is generally considered2 to represent Shakespeare's intentions. It is unquestionably the singular nature of the subject that accounts for its neglect.

The plot is the simplest Shakespeare utilized for the tragedies. It falls into two abruptly different parts. In the first part, Timon is presented as the most beneficent of men. He gives-feasts and gifts-continually, and he is deliriously happy in doing so. Throughout this part, he is warned by his steward that he is bankrupting himself, and by a friend, Apemantus, that his beneficence is misguided-that he is scorned, not loved, by those he feeds. Timon ignores both warnings. Finally, he is bankrupt, but confident that those whom he benefited will now help him. They do not, and the creditors come forth. Moved to rage, he gives one final feast. As his guests sit to eat, Timon tells them to uncover the closed dishes, which contain only warm water. He screams at them: “Uncover, dogs, and lap!” and storms out to the nearby woods.

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