Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Euripides's Alcestis. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Alcestis: Plot Summary
Alcestis: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Alcestis: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Euripides
Historical Context of Alcestis
Other Books Related to Alcestis
- Full Title: Alcestis
- When Written: 438 B.C.E.
- Where Written: Greece
- When Published: 438 B.C.E. (first performed)
- Literary Period: Classical Greek
- Genre: Tragic play
- Setting: Pherai, Thessaly, Greece
- Climax: Alcestis is unveiled.
- Antagonist: Death
- Point of View: Third person omniscient
Extra Credit for Alcestis
Tears of Laughter. Though Alcestis has traditionally been classified as a tragedy, it also contains farcical elements (such as Herakles’s drunken speech on death) which has led both ancient and modern critics to suggest that it might better fit the genre of “tragicomedy.” So, whether it was his intention or not, Euripides can be seen as the pioneer of this genre.
Test of Time. Alcestis is typically dated as the earliest of Euripides’s extant plays, although at the time it was first performed in Athens in 438 B.C.E., Euripides had been writing and producing plays for almost two decades. In fact, out of the nearly hundred plays he wrote, only about 20 texts survive.