Alcestis - Euripides (485 (or 480) - 406 BC e)

Literature of antiquity and the Middle Ages - Summary - 2019

Euripides (485 (or 480) - 406 BC e)

This is a tragedy with a happy ending. At the dramatic contests in Athens there was a custom: each poet represented a "trilogy", three tragedies, sometimes even picking each other on themes (as in the Aeschylus), and after them, for the sinking of a gloomy mood, "satire drama", where the heroes and action were also from myths, but the choir certainly consisted of cheerful satires, goat cheeks and taunt companions of the god of wine of Dionysus; accordingly and the plot for her was chosen funny and fabulous. But to adapt the choir of satires could not be to every myth; and here the poet Euripides tried to make the final drama with a fabulous story, and with a happy ending, but without any satyrs. This was the "Alchemist".

The fairy tale here is the struggle of Hercules with Death. The Greeks, like all the peoples, once imagined that Death is a monstrous demon who comes to the dying, grabs his soul and takes him to the underground kingdom. Seriously in such a demon, they no longer believed and told about him not myths, but fairy tales. For example, how cunning Sisyphus seized Death by surprise, locked his shackles and held him captive for a long time, so that people on earth ceased to die, and Zeus himself had to intervene and restore order. Or, as the main hero of the Greek myths, the worker Hercules, once grapbed with the Death of the husband, plundered it and ripped off her soul, which the demon had already carried to the underworld. It was the soul of the young Queen Alchemist (Alcestes), the wife of King Admet.

That was the case. God Apollon quarreled with his father, Thunder Zeus, and he was punished: Zeus told him to serve the shepherd of a mortal man, King Admet, for a whole year. Admeth was a kind and affectionate master, and Apollo also paid him good. He gave a drink of unobjectionable Moire, the goddesses of fate measuring the timing of human life, and made Admet a miracle: when Admeta comes to dying, then for him, Admeta, someone else may die, and he, Admet, will live his life for this other . It was time, Admt had come to die, and he began to seek among his native people who would have agreed to accept death instead. The old father refused, the old mother refused, and only his young wife, the queen of Alchemist, agreed. She loved him so much that she was ready to give life to him, so that he continued to reign with glory.

From this, the tragedy of Euripides begins. On the stage - god Apollo and Death. The demon came to Alchemist's soul; he treats wickedly: kidnapping a young life is more pleasant than the life of a mature husband. "You triumph early! - Apollon tells him. - Beware: a person who comes to you here will come here too."

The choir of local residents comes to the scene: they are alarmed, they love both a good king and a young queen; they do not know what gods to pray in order to end a mortal misfortune. The royal maid tells them: no longer help, the last hour has come. Alchemist prepared for death, washed, dressed in mortal outfits, prayed to the home gods: "Keep my husband and give my children not untimely death, as for me, but forever, on the sloping days!" He was forgiven with his marital bed: "Oh, if another wife will come here, then she will not be better than me, but only happier! "He was forgiven with the children, with the servants and with her husband: the poor Admet, he remains alive, but suffers from longing as if he is dying. Now she will take her out of the palace so she would say goodbye to the sunlight. "O grief, sorry," the choir sings. "If you can, Apollo," he said. "

From the palace they hand over to Alcestieda, with her Admet, with them a small son and daughter. Begins a common cry; Alchemist says goodbye to the earth and the sky, she already heard the flood of the inferior river. She turns to Admet: "Here is my last request: do not take another wife, do not take your stepmother to our children, be the protector of your son, give a worthy husband of your daughter!" "I will not take another wife," Admet answers her, "I'll be mourning you until the end of the day, there will be no joy or songs in my house, but you will be in me even in dreams and meet me in the hell when I die! Oh, why I'm not Orpheus, a song that made a lover of a subterranean king! "The speeches of Alkesty are shorter, she silences, she died. The choir sings the deceased companion song and tells her eternal glory between the living.

Here and then Hercules appears. He goes to the north, he is assigned another suicidal feat: to deal with a cruel king who kills the hungry guests and feeds them with the meat of his martial herds. King Admet - his friend, he wanted to rest and fence in his house; but in the house sadness, sorrow, mourning - maybe it's better for him to look for another shelter? "No," says Admet, "do not think about the wrong, leave me your worries; and my servants will feed you and put it." "What are you, the king," asks the choir, "is it worth the matter to bury such a wife, to take and treat guests?" "Is it worth the matter," says Admet, "to burden our friends with grief?" Good for the good: the guest is always holy." The choir sings about the generosity of King Admet, and how kind are gods to him, and how good he is to his friends.

Alchemist is burying. In every tragedy there is a dispute - a dispute over and over its body flares up. The old father of Admeta comes out of the dead and says touching words to her. Here, Admeth loses self-control: "You did not want to die for me - this means you're guilty of her death!" He shouts. "And if it were not for her, you would be guilty of my death!" I'm no longer a son." "The deadline was yours," replies the father, "you did not want to die; So do not reprobate me, that I do not want to die, and be ashamed of the wife, which you have not spared. " Cursing each other, father and son diverge.

And Hercules, knowing nothing, feels behind the scene; from the Greeks he was always considered not only a strongman, but also a gluttony. The slave complains to the audience: he wants to cry about a good queen, and he must smile to serve a newcomer. "What are you so grumbling about? - asks Hercules. - Life is short, tomorrow is unknown, let's rejoice, while they are alive. " Here the slave does not withstand and tells the guest everything as it is. Hercules are shocked - and the devotion of the queen to her husband, and the nobility of the king before a friend. "Where bury Alchemist?" The servant points out. "Hurry your heart," Hercules says, "I struggled with the living, now I go to the Death itself and will make my wife a friend to my friend, even if from the underworld."

While Hercules are not present, the scene is crying. Admit is already suffering not about the deceased - about himself: "Woe to her was over, eternal glory began for her. And I? that to me now life, if everyone can tell me in the face: here a coward, he was afraid of honest death, he preferred a shameful life! "The choir is sadly comforting him: this is fate, but they are not arguing with fate.

Hercules returns, behind him is a silent woman under the veil. Hercules punches Admeta: "You are my friend, and you hid your grief from me? be embarrassed! God is your judge, and I have a request for you. Now I have had an uneasy struggle and a fist fight, I won, and I was rewarded with this woman. I go to the north to serve my service, and you, please, shelter her in her palace: you want to be a slave, and you want - when your despair goes away - and a new wife." - "Do not say so: I have no end to my longing, and it's painful for me to look at this woman: it reminds me of Alketasti's growth and article. Do not take my soul!"-"I am your friend, do I really want you bad? Take her by the hand. And now look! "And Hercules pulls off the blanket from his companion. "Is this alchemist? live? no ghost You saved her! Stay! Separate my joy!"-"No, business is waiting. And you are kind and righteous make sacrifices to the gods of heaven and underground, and then mortal spells will fall from her, and she will speak and will be yours again." "I am happy!" Exclaims Admet, extending his hands to the sun, and the choir finishes the tragedy with the words: "... The paths of the gods are unknown to us unthinkingly, and impossible for them is possible: we saw it."