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Alcestis: A Play Paperback – September 4, 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Hughes's poetic style if fully of beauty and pathos. Highly recommended.” ―Library Journal

“[Hughes uses] the same technique of adaptation he deployed so well in Tales from Ovid, paring Classical polysyllables to the minimum, and finding the grain of mythic significance...His portrayal of the surviving and self-chastising Admetos is acute. Whatever shades of autobiography may writhe through these lines--they belong to a drama that works.” ―Nigel Spivey, The Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Among Ted Hughes's other translations are The Oresteia of Aeschylus, Racine's Phedre, and Tales from Ovid. His last book of poems, Birthday Letters, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Prize. He was Poet Laureate to Queen Elizabeth II and lived in Devon, England until he died in 1998.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (September 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374527261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374527266
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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This was a very eye opening play that kept me on my toes. I thought it was a great read and I highly recommend it. If its for a class or even for the joy of reading, it will keep you engaged throughout to make the reader want to keep reading. I finished it in a day thats how good it was and I would read it again if I had the time to! If you come across this play, I would give it a shot and take the time to read it because I thoroughly enjoyed it!
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Format: Paperback
This play by the famed Greek playwright Euripides (480-406 BCE) is a supernatural tale of King Admetus who was told that he would not die if he could find another person who was willing to die for him. In his play, Euripides analyses the psychology of the king. After being rebuffed by his parents, he asks his wife to die for him. She agrees on the condition that he marries no other person after her death. She explained that she loves her two children and feared that a stepmother would not treat them well. The king agrees and she dies. Soon after her death, the king realizes two things. First, he acted dishonorably and second, he misses his wife. “This is he who lives in shame because he dared not do.” “He never knew her worth… he will know it now.”
Just as she is being buried, Heracles appears at the king’s palace. Unasked by the king, he goes out, wrestles with death, defeats death, and brings back Alcestis to her husband alive.
Interestingly, Alcestis is unable to speak when she reappears after her death. Her husband asks why this is so. Heracles explains that it is only after three days after death that one can be fully alive again. This brings to mind the story of the resurrection of Jesus after three days.
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