Study Guide

The Life of Timon of Athens Wealth

By William Shakespeare


Money, money, money, money.

The Athenians in Timon of Athens care an awful lot about money. They're captivated by the banquets and the gifts money can buy; they use money as a way of influencing people and upping their social status; and they totally get that money goes hand in hand with power. Everyone, from Senators to thieves, talks about wealth and power in this play.

At first, we see Timon dismissing his wealth and wishing he was without it, but by the end of the play, he stops pretending: he knows how to use money to get exactly what he wants.

Questions About Wealth

  1. Does Timon care about his wealth? What is his relationship to money? How does this change over the course of the play?
  2. How does money influence people in the play? Which characters are not influenced or affected by the wealth of others?
  3. Can money buy happiness? Can it buy sadness or destruction? How do Timon's and Alcibiades's lives show us different outlooks on money?

Chew on This

Alcibiades needs wealth and power just as much as the other characters in the play. He just needs it in a different way.

Money does not buy power in the woods. Out there, Timon's money has no meaning.