The theme of Euripides' Alcestis blends the primitive folk-tale of the self-sacrificing bride, Alcestis, and of Heracles' heroic struggles with the ogre Death, with a morality tale of "virtue rewarded", in this case twice rewarded. The Alcestis is the only tragedy which we know to have been produced in the position usually allotted (at the Athenian tragic festivals) to the semi-comic "satyrplay". Like a satyr-play, it has a happy ending but does the poet intend his audience to interpret the play in quite such simple terms? Opinions differ widely but the ironic, slightly mocking tone of the play suggest, at least to some critics, that more sombre meanings may lie beneath the surface of this beautifully constructed little masterpiece. Greek text with facing translation, commentary and notes.
Publisher: Liverpool University Press