At once a vigorous translation of one of Euripides' most subtle and witty plays, and a wholly fresh interpretation, this version reveals for the first time the extraordinary formal beauty and thematic concentration of the Alcestis. William Arrowsmith, eminent classical scholar, translator, and... show more
At once a vigorous translation of one of Euripides' most subtle and witty plays, and a wholly fresh interpretation, this version reveals for the first time the extraordinary formal beauty and thematic concentration of the Alcestis. William Arrowsmith, eminent classical scholar, translator, and General Editor of this highly praised series, rejects the standard view of the Alcestis as a psychological study of the egotist Admetos and his naive but devoted wife. His translation, instead, presents the play as a drama of human existence-in keeping with the tradition of Greek tragedy-with recognizably human characters who also represent masked embodiments of human conditions. The Alcestis thus becomes a metaphysical tragicomedy in which Admetos, who has heretofore led a life without limitations, learns to "think mortal thoughts." He acquires the knowledge of limits-the acceptance of death as well as the duty to live-which, according to Euripides, makes people meaningfully human and capable of both courage and compassion. This new interpretation compellingly argues that, for Euripides, suffering humanizes, that exemption makes a man selfish and childish, and that only the courage to accept both life and death leads to the realization of one's humanity, and, in the case of Alcestis, to heroism.
Publish date: February 1st 1990
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Pages no: 142
Edition language: English
Alcestis: a unique play. It takes many twisted paths. The 'betrayal' of parents to their son. The indifference of Gods(Apollo), and the courage of half-mortals (Heracles), the faithfulness of wives (Alcestis) And the cowardice of kings (Admetus' refusal to die.)
Strange why? It kind of works counter to the way his plays normally do, and the ending has always astounded me. It's far from the first play I read - although I still have some I need to read - and it was far in enough that I was completely blown away because I never expected it. For those wh...
Gods messing with humanity. Humanity interacting with Gods. Deus ex machinas to make everything work out ever so neatly. The Greeks knew how to write a great tale, and those tales are "oh! so relevant" to our time -- or so I've always been told. I think that's a bit of bullshit, actually. When I...