This image has been considered as representing 'the small and insignificant transience of men and their actions in relation to the unresponsive, unchanging, and timeless physical world' [B. G. Hornback, The Metaphor of Chance, p. 13]. . . . In 'The Three Strangers', past and present, large and small are continually juxtaposed in a way that suggests similarity as well as difference, closeness as well as distance. References to Timon, Nebuchadnezzar, and Belshazzar are made not only because these are figures from the distant past but also because their abuses of power can be compared to that of the hangman, whose every action is lawful but derived from an inhumane system of justice..