Alcestis tells the story of the queen of Thessaly and wife of Admetus. When Admetus’ death is imminent, his friend Apollo tricks the Fates into allowing Admetus to live if someone else should voluntarily take his place. But no one is willing to sacrifice themselves for the king, except his wife Alcestis. She is celebrated as the ideal queen and wife, deeply mourned by everyone. However, the Greek hero Heracles arrives, and not knowing that the queen has died, expects food, drink, and celebrations--all activities forbidden in a house of mourning. When he learns of Alcestis’ fate, Heracles resolves to fight Death himself in order to bring her back and return Thessaly to happiness and prosperity.
Alcestis guide sections