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ALCESTIS  EUFUPIDES 


EURIPIDES 


EURIPIDES’  cAlr^ 

Alcestis,  queen  of  Pherae,  is  one  of  the  noblest  heroines  in  all  of  Greek  drama.  Her 
husband  Admetus  is  the  supposedly  virtuous  king  of  Pherae  who  wins  the  friendship  of 
the  god  Apollo.  Apollo  tricks  the  Eumenides  into  an  agreement  that  when  the  time  comes 
for  Admetus  to  die,  a willing  substitute  will  be  accepted  in  his  place,  allowing  his  friend  to 
go  on  living.  Admetus  selfishly  tries  to  persuade  anyone  to  agree  to  be  his  substitute, 
even  his  own  parents,  but  no  one  is  willing  to  make  that  sacrifice;  this  disappointment  and 
its  tragic  consequences  embitter  him,  leading  him  ultimately  to  disown  his  father  and 
mother.  Finally  his  wife  Alcestis  nobly  agrees  to  die  for  him,  unwilling  to  leave  her  children 
without  a father.  When  the  play  opens,  the  moment  for  the  death  of  Alcestis  is  at  hand 
and  an  unexpected  guest  is  at  the  door. 

“Alcestis,”  first  produced  at  the  City  Dionysia  festival  in  438  BCE,  has  always  been  hard  to 
categorize.  Its  ambiguous,  tragicomic  tone — which  may  be  "cheerfully  romantic"  or 
"bitterly  ironic" — has  earned  it  the  label  of  a "problem  play."  "Alcestis"  is,  possibly 
excepting  the  "Rhesus,"  the  oldest  surviving  work  by  Euripides,  although  at  the  time  of  its 
first  performance  he  had  been  producing  plays  for  17  years. 

R.EAD  FOR.  LIBR.IVOX.OR.G  BY  EXPATR.IATE 
TOTAE  R.UNNING  TIME  1:13:53 

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Cover  image:  Alcestis  mourante  by  Jean-Frangois-Pierre  Peyron  (1744  - 1814). 
Cover  designed  by  Availle.This  design  is  in  the  public  domain. 


AECESTIS  EURIPIDES