Euripides’ ›Alcestis‹: Narrative, Myth, and Religion by Andreas Markantonatos

By Andreas Markantonatos

This specified quantity is an obtainable but in-depth narratological learn of Euripides' Alcestis. It contextualizes the play by way of its reception via the unique viewers, finding the difficult narrative tropes of the plot within the dynamics of fifth-century Athenian mythology and faith. it's going to present readers drawn to Greek literature and particularly Euripidean tragedy, in addition to in glossy literary idea and particularly narratology.

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His prophecy, coming as it does at the opening stage of the tragic narrative, imparts a particularly strong push to the course of the play, unveiling a divinely 24 Pace Diggle and Parker, Schmidt’s emendation πείσῃ is not at all convincing, since the manuscript reading παύσῃ (64) not only harks back to καταπαύων (31) in the sense of annulling the prerogatives of Death, but also chimes in with the threatening tone of Apollo. Cf. also Paley (1857) ad 64, who rightly notes that ἦ μὴν ‘has a sense partaking of the nature of a threat’; Vernardakis (1903) ad 64; Kovacs (1994) 159; Iakov (2012) ad 64.

The presentation of the possible unfoldings of the story is artfully achieved mainly through what is revealed by the different perspectives of the secondary narrators. Such a variation preserves the suspense as the outcome of the whole story still remains unpredictable: the audience are bound to follow step by step the horrible tribulation of Alcestis out of the labyrinth of suspenseful anticipation into the light of miraculous resurrection. As we noticed earlier, Euripides achieves in this play a continuous sense of antithesis through the direct clash of rival viewpoints on past and future.

This intersection of certain opposing aspects of age-old norms and assurances passes into the narrative construction of the play: the more shocking and violent the trivializations of life-affirming mythological and religious schemata, the more fully the heroic and mystical entities renew their strength and validity with their order-imposing power of civilizing principles. The remarkable complexity of the tragic narration, both becoming and resisting the perversion of mythological and religious conventions and fictions, renders back to the audience the desecration of the most revered laws and practices of human society, as well as the enormous effort and determination required to reinstate them.

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