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Ever since I was a little kid I would constantly be dragged along by my parents to go see plays that made absolutely no sense to me and seemed like a waste of time. It would get so bad that I would complain before, during and after the play which obviously got on my parent’s nerves a great deal. Eventually I stopped complaining and would take naps throughout the plays and simply saw them as another church like function my parents were dragging me along to. They even stuck me in acting classes so that I could perform plays, but I still didn’t care for theatre. As I grew, my perception of theatre changed. Everyone around me seemed to love plays. My friends would go to plays in New York, classmates were constantly talking about Broadway, and even my teachers would encourage my class to go see plays if we could ever convince our parents to take us. Finally I caved. I had to go see a play! I spent my entire senior year going back and forth with my parents to drive down to New York and see Wicked; needless to say my efforts were in vain neither of them felt like spending the extra money. So when I saw Arcadia was offering a course that allowed its students to be completely engulfed in the world of theatre I jumped at the opportunity. I wanted to see for myself if I could care about plays as much as all the people surrounding me did, and make an opinion for myself.
Play Critique is a course specifically designed to give students further insight into the world of theatre. My teacher chose no other than the great Shakespeare himself and his play, “Timon of Athens” to introduce us into this new world I was completely unfamiliar with. “Timon of Athens” was written in between the years 1607 and 1608 during troubled times in London, England. The Queen Elizabeth had just passed away in 1603, which meant the end of the Tutor line which had been in power since 1457 and the country was in distress. King James was next in line to inherit the thrown; he was Queen Elizabeth’s cousin from overseas. Everyone was worried and the entire country was uneasy. Could there be a change in religion? No one knew what would come about from this drastic change.
During his reign King James was known to be an extremely extravagant ruler. He required a huge quantity of capital and would give away very valuable gifts. He once gave a Spanish negotiator The Royal Gold Cup which was a very valuable piece of the Tutor line and England’s history. Throughout his reign King James accumulated more than four times the debt that was standing during Queen Elizabeth’s time as queen. How could such a ruler be so careless? It was because of these irresponsible actions that Shakespeare developed the idea to write “Timon of Athens.”
Due to the circumstances of its context the play is considered a city comedy making fun of King James. The story is very straight forward and sends many fruitful messages. It begins with the audience being introduced to Timon, a wealthy lord who lives a very extravagant life style. Not only is he wealthy but he is kind hearted always looking to please his friends with gifts. The audience watched as Timon gave his friends jewels, treated them to amazing dinner parties, and even showered them with complements. He pays no mind to his very irresponsible spending habits and gets into a very large pile of debt. When the debt finally reaches an unmanageable tipping point Timon loses everything. Naturally he turned to his friends. He asked for moderately large sums of money from each and every one of them which by their standards was not necessarily a lot of money. Even so, none of them felt they owed it to Timon to give him the money and let him go broke and homeless.
Some years later Timon finds himself living in the jungle and while wondering comes across a huge sum of gold. When word of his