Alcestis

Alcestis is a myth that is “the most touching of all the Greek dramas to a contemporary audience” (Lind 213). It is a tragicomedy by the playwright Euripides and it centers on the king and queen of Thessalia. Admetus, the king, has been fated to die yet, due to his alliance with Apollo, is offered the opportunity to locate a replacement. His wife, Alcestis, volunteers for the position claiming that she cannot visualize life without the need of her husband. Following Alcestis submits her life, Admetus discovers the pain of loss and even determines that Alcestis is the lucky one in dying. In a surprising turn of events, a buddy of Admetus, Heracles, goes down into the underworld, wrestles Death, and wins Admetus back his bride.1

This tale, as described above, tugs at a reader’s heartstrings. We, as an audience, want to think that Alcestis is brought to life at the termination of this drama, but there are these interpreters who think otherwise. A specific example of this type of particular person is D.L. Drew, who proposes that the woman given to Admetus is the corpse of his wife rather than the resurrected Alcestis. Drew goes further to comment that this is Heracles’s revenge against Admetus for tricking him into believing that she who died is a stranger and not Alcestis.1 This is a terrible proposition that tends to disturb a reader and, by way of the examination of the text, appears to be rather incorrect. The idea that Alcestis has been resurrected can be supported, in truth, by numerous elements. Via the influence of the god Apollo in the drama’s entirety, via the temperament and motivations of Heracles, and through the presence of several comic components in correlation with the definition of comedy, a single can genuinely believe that Alcestis is brought back to life.

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