Caphis is a minor character in William Shakespeare's play, Timon of Athens. Although his role in the play is small, Caphis plays a significant part in showcasing the theme of greed and the corrupting influence of money.
Caphis is introduced as a servant to Ventidius, a wealthy Athenian nobleman. He is portrayed as a loyal and obedient servant, always ready to carry out his master's orders. However, it becomes apparent that Caphis is also driven by his own desire for wealth and material possessions.
One of the key moments involving Caphis occurs in Act IV, Scene III, where he is sent by Ventidius to deliver a message to Timon, the play's protagonist. Here, Caphis demonstrates his willingness to go to great lengths to fulfill his own greed. He tells Timon that Ventidius has sent him to collect a debt, even though he knows that Timon is in financial ruin and cannot possibly repay it.
This moment serves as a turning point for Caphis, as it is in this scene that he begins to realize the consequences of his actions. Timon, in his state of despair and disillusionment, berates Caphis for his greed and the corrupt nature of society. This confrontation shakes Caphis to his core, making him question his own values and the choices he has made.
From this point onwards, Caphis undergoes a transformation. He begins to question the pursuit of wealth and material possessions, recognizing the emptiness and futility of such pursuits. This change is evident in Act IV, Scene III, where he expresses remorse for his actions and vows to change his ways.
While Caphis's character arc is not as significant as some of the other characters in the play, his story serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of greed and the corrupting influence of money. Through Caphis, Shakespeare highlights the moral decay that can occur when individuals prioritize personal gain over empathy and compassion.