Alcestis – Monologue (Admetus)

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A monologue from the play by Euripides

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Plays of Euripides in English, vol. ii. Trans. Shelley Dean Milman. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1922.


My friends, I deem the fortune of my wife
Happier than mine, though otherwise it seems;
For never more shall sorrow touch her breast,
And she with glory rests from various ills.
But I, who ought not live, my destined hour
O’erpassing, shall drag on a mournful life,
Late taught what sorrow is. How shall I bear
To enter here? To whom shall I address
My speech? Whose greeting renders my return
Delightful? Which way shall I turn? Within
In lonely sorrow shall I waste away,
As widowed of my wife I see my couch,
The seats deserted where she sat, the rooms
Wanting her elegance. Around my knees
My children hang, and weep their mother lost:
These too lament their mistress now no more.
This is the scene of misery in my house:
Abroad, the nuptials of Thessalia’s youth
And the bright circles of assembled dames
Will but augment my grief: ne’er shall I bear
To see the loved companions of my wife.
And if one hates me, he will say, “Behold
The man, who basely lives, who dared not die,
But, giving through the meanness of his soul
His wife, avoided death, yet would be deemed
A man: he hates his parents, yet himself
Had not the spirit to die.” These ill reports
Cleave to me: why then wish for longer life,
On evil tongues thus fallen, and evil days?

Read the play here

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