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Flavius

Politics and the People

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Shakespeare often wrote about politics but he usually dealt with political infighting at court. Two of his Roman plays, however, deal specifically with politicians’ relationship with the people, the fickle masses. Julius Caesar and Coriolanus offer observations about these fraught relationships, which are as true today as they were both in Elizabethan and Roman times.

Like many of Shakespeare’s plays,
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I’ll hunt with him; and let them be received

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Timon
I’ll hunt with him; and let them be received,
Not without fair reward. Servant exits.
Flavius, aside
What will this come to?
He commands us to provide, and give great gifts,
And all out of an empty coffer.

Happier is he that has no friend to feed
Than such that do e’en enemies exceed.
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 2
Line 200

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You would not hear me

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Flavius
You would not hear me.
At many leisures I proposed—
Timon
Go to.
Perchance some single vantages you took
When my indisposition put you back,
And that unaptness made your minister
Thus to excuse yourself.

O my good lord, the world is but a word.
Were it all yours to give it in a breath,
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Source:
Act 2
Scene 2
Line 142

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What do you ask of me, my friend?

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Flavius
What do you ask of me, my friend?
Titus 
We wait for certain money here, sir.

Who can speak broader than he that has
no house to put his head in? Such may
rail against great buildings.

Flavius
Ay,
If money were as certain as your waiting,
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Source:
Act 3
Scene 4
Line 55

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Hear you, Master Steward, where’s our master?

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First Servant 
Hear you, Master Steward, where’s our master?
Are we undone, cast off, nothing remaining?
Flavius
Alack, my fellows, what should I say to you?
Let me be recorded by the righteous gods,
I am as poor as you.

Who would be so mocked with glory, or to live
But in a dream of friendship

First Servant
Such a house broke?
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Source:
Act 4
Scene 2
Line 1

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O you gods! Is yond despised and ruinous man my lord?

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Flavius
O you gods!
Is yond despised and ruinous man my lord?
Full of decay and flailing? O, monument
And wonder of good deeds evilly bestowed!
What an alteration of honor has desp’rate want made!
What viler thing upon the Earth than friends,
Who can bring noblest minds to basest ends!
How rarely does it meet with this time’s guise,
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Source:
Act 4
Scene 3
Line 513

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Spoken by:
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The Senators of Athens greet thee, Timon.

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First Senator
The Senators of Athens greet thee, Timon.
Timon
I thank them and would send them back the plague,
Could I but catch it for them.
First Senator
O, forget
What we are sorry for ourselves in thee.
The Senators with one consent of love
Entreat thee back to Athens,
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Source:
Act 5
Scene 1
Line 157

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