Admetus, the king of Thessaly, is preparing the funeral and burial
ADMETUS Hail Son of Zeus and of the blood of Perseus!
HERACLES And hail to you, Admetus, lord of the Thessalians
ADMETUS May it be so! I know your friendship well.
HERACLES What means this shorn hair, this mourning robe?
ADMETUS To-day I must bury a dead body.
HERACLES May a God avert harm from your children!
ADMETUS The children I have begotten are alive in the house.
HERACLES Your father was ripe for death-if it is he has gone?
ADMETUS He lives--and she who brought me forth, O Heracles.
HERACLES Your wife--Alcestis--she is not dead?
ADMETUS (evasively) Of her I might make a double answer.
HERACLES Do you mean that she is dead or alive?
ADMETUS (ambiguously) She is and is not-and for this I grieve.
HERACLES (perplexed) I am no wiser-you speak obscurely.
ADMETUS Did you not know