Lord: Deserving Each Other: Pheres and Admetus in Euripides’ Alcestis
The confrontation between Admetus and his father at Euripides' Alcestis ( ) Pheres emphasizes the legal nature of his marriage ( γνησίως) and the. With Apollo's help, Admetus succeeded and married Alcestis. When the Dec 31 , Link will appear as Admetus: hidden-facts.info - Dec 31, By Susi Ferrarello, Ph.D. Let's talk about marriage. How often does it happen that partners decide to put the couple before themselves as.
She accepts because, she says, she wishes not to leave her children fatherless or be bereft of her lover. The tragedy starts with Alcestis already dead. The chorus leader anxiously confirms that all of the customary preparations have been made for her proper burial. Admetus holds Alcestis in his arms as she takes her last breath.
Nothing funny so far—everyone is in tears at this last extreme sacrifice. On her deathbed she makes two requests: Admetus accepts, of course. His wife is sacrificing her whole life for him; he will have no problem keeping these two small promises for her.
Maybe this is the satiric part of the play. Heracles gets drunk and begins to irritate the servants, who loved their queen and are bitter at not being allowed to mourn her properly. Finally, one of the servants snaps at the guest and tells him what has happened. Fortunately for everyone, Heracles really was a good friend. Saddened by the news, he decides to face Death and take Alcestis back.
Although she cannot speak for three days, she returns to life purified and fully restored. What do we make of this story? First, Alcestis was lucky. Alcestis came back from death as a new person.
Feminist readers Feminist readers are simply mad at this story. In the play her evanescence is her strongest quality. Her devotion to her husband is unquestioned despite Admetus breaking his word and failing to mourn her properly.
When she is resuscitated, she seems happy to come back to her marriage. The most authentic moment of her existence is in that mute figure just purified from death come back to life.
According to Goldfarb, the ideal that this story embodies is philia, a word that occurs often in the play ; philia at,; ef Familiar love, intimacy, and friendship are the bonds that Alcestis decides to establish with herself, her children, and her husband. In order to be near her intimate world she has to die and hopefully come back to life again. It describes the action, like a caption: Eca ersce nac achrum flerthrce.
We see the figures of the man and the woman, this time with a single winged demon behind them. The three figures are involved in a complex relationship.
There is no embrace. Instead, Admetus holds his hand out towards his wife, in a rhetorical gesture that can be interpreted in more than one way. There seems to be a lively discussion going on, with Admetus haranguing his wife; perhaps he is delivering his farewell speech Euripides, Alcestistrying to convince her of the rightness of his request, while she listens to his argument, her mouth twisted into a doubtful expression as she looks at him7 Much depends on the eye contact.Pheadra or Alcestis Love Stories Part 2 (Alcestis)
The fact that Admetus is dressed in a rounded toga, the Etruscan tebenna that contrasts with the rectangular Greek himation regularly worn by images of the deceased, 12 shows that he is very much alive. He clearly intends to remain alive as long as possible. The third example is an Etruscan mirror, an object that a bride received as a wedding gift, used during her lifetime as a treasured object, and took to her grave with her at her death.
Approximately of these mirrors have come down to us. Their reflecting surfaces were highly polished, so they looked like gold, while the backs were decorated with a variety of figures, including numerous mythological scenes.
These images are as interesting as those on the vases, and like those, are occasionally provided with inscriptions identifying the figures.
Alcestis and Admetus: Hoping to Rise Again - Carmenta Online Latin Blog
Like the krater in Paris, it shows two figures embracing. Both are splendidly dressed and wear elaborate diadems. Admetus has a baldric over his right shoulder and across his chest, Alcestis 4 wears a heavy mantle with decorated border over her chiton, from whose shoulder seams hang two fringes or braided tassels, a peculiarly Etruscan feature of dress denoting an important female figure, a divinity, priestess, or lady of rank.
Of course the embrace might also represent Admetus welcoming his wife when Herakles brings her back to her husband from Hades,17 a scene that would also have taken place offstage in the original Greek play. Love scenes, on the other hand, are favorite subjects for Etruscan mirrors, which frequently show pairs of mythological lovers, human or divine.
The wedding imagery of the New York mirror fits such a context. The nude youth on the left, with a chlamys draped over his left arm and shoulder, is seen from the back as he turns away to depart from the scene.
He holds a flaming torch in his raised right hand, and a pair of soft, laced shoes in his hand. On the right, an old woman holds in her left hand an alabastron, from which she perfumes the neck and hair of Alkestis with a dipstick.
The absence of inscriptions has made their identification difficult and has given rise to a variety of interpretations. Unlike the Etruscan demons on the two vases, these two figures are human.
The young man holding a torch, seen from the back, has been interpreted as the god of marriage, Hymenaeus, who appears as a satyr- like figure with torch, mantle and dance-like step on a Hellenistic relief frieze.
Such an interpretation is reinforced by the fact that Thanatos appears in the play. Her hair is disheveled, with stringy locks over her neck. Her features, and the lines on her forehead and neck, indicate old age, as they do on a number of other mirrors of this period.
True, she can be compared to the old woman on the 6 somewhat later urn of the Old Couple from Volterra late second or early first centurybut this figure has been shown to represent a wife and not a demon.
She helped Alcestis bathe, put on her best clothes -- probably her wedding clothes and jewelry, which women wore to their graves - and no doubt perfumed her, as shown in the mirror.
The character is similar to that of a standard image from scenes of tragedy, the nurse. The attendant nurse appears on a fourth-century Greek representation of the Alcestis story on an Apulian vase in Basel, where her long sleeves are to be seen as stage costume. The wet nurse, one of the standard characters represented in the terracotta figurines of characters of the Greek theater, is always shown as fat, old and ugly, sometimes with large, pendulous breasts, like the female attendant on the mirror.
Even when she is holding a nursling in her arms she is old and ugly, because she is a slave. This interaction of the married couple contrasts with the way the story was represented in Greek art and Roman art, where Alcestis was shown with her children, among the women, or being returned home by Hermes or Herakles. On the Apulian vase in Basel,28 which is contemporary with the Etruscan examples, Alkestis is saying goodbye to her children, who cling to her, as described in the play Admetus stands nearby, but is not closely involved in the action, reflecting the separation of men and women typical of Greek culture.
The rarity of images of married couples in classical Greek art contrasts with the ubiquitous presence in Etruscan art of couples of mythological figures, whether men and women or divinities, married, lovers, or otherwise related. An exception from Greek vase painting, an Attic black-figure pelike in the British Museum by the Acheloos Painter fig. The embrace, no matter how stately, takes place in the context of a symposium, and represents a man with a hetaira rather than a married couple.
Even so the Achelooos Painter, who is known for his humorous subjects, does not take it seriously: Boardman describes the scene as a witty antithesis of love, sacred and profane. The funerary context of the two vases is given by the story, but is one that the Etruscans cultivated in the richly furnished tombs and monuments they made in honor of their families and ancestors.
No wonder, then, that the funerary aspects of this story appealed to them, and that they emphasized these in the imagery they used to tell it. Many problems arise in the study of these Etruscan representations, including their relationship to Greek tragedy. We are frequently warned that artists are telling a story, not illustrating a text. Another indication of a possible influence of the theater are the laced shoes carried by the young man, which, as Maggiani has noted, are socci, stage dress, and may indicate a stage setting.
The question of whether, when and how dramatic performances took place in Etruria is a matter for controversy. The fact that the images on the artistic monuments were also translated, as we have seen, accounts for contrasts between the way Greek, South Italian and Etruscan artists represented theatrical scenes.
The figure of the married couple, which does not appear in the Greek or Roman representations, is present in each of the three Etruscan versions. Accompanying each of these couples are shown characters unknown in Greek art. On the two red-figure vases they are the typical fourth-century Etruscan semi-divine demons, or daimones, who escort the dead to the Underworld.