Alcestis  

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-In [[Plato's Symposium]] [[Phaedrus]] opens by citing [[Hesiod]], [[Acusilaus]] and [[Parmenides]] for the claim that [[Eros is the oldest of the gods]], with no parents (He ignores the alternative view, already widespread, that Eros was the child of [[Aphrodite]]. Thus, throughout, Phaedrus selects versions and interpretations of myth to suit his argument.). Hence the greatness of the benefits he confers, inspiring a lover to earn the admiration of his beloved, as by showing bravery on the battlefield, since nothing shames a man more than to be seen by his beloved committing some [[inglorious]] act (178d-179b). "A handful of such men, fighting side by side, would defeat practically the whole world." Lovers may even sacrifice their lives for the beloved: [[Alcestis]] was willing to die for her husband [[Admetus]], and the gods rewarded her by allowing her to return from [[Hades]]. By contrast, [[Orpheus]] made no such sacrifice; he went alive to Hades to find [[Eurydice]], and returned empty-handed. But [[Achilles]] fought bravely at the death of his lover [[Patroclus]] though he knew that the fight would bring his own death closer; Phaedrus here takes [[Aeschylus]] to task for making [[Achilles]] the "lover" (180a), claiming instead that Achilles was the beautiful, still-beardless, younger "beloved" of Patroclus and citing Homer in his support.  
-Phaedrus concludes his short speech in proper rhetorical fashion, reiterating his statements that love is one of the most ancient gods, the most honored, and the most powerful in helping men gain honor and blessedness.+'''Alcestis''' (Ἄλκηστις) is a [[princess]] in [[Greek mythology]], known for her love of her [[Admetus|husband]]. Her story was popularised in [[Euripides]]'s tragedy ''[[Alcestis (play)|Alcestis]]''. She was the daughter of [[Pelias]], king of [[Iolcus]], and either [[Anaxibia]] or [[Phylomache]].
 +In the story, many [[suitors]] appeared before King [[Pelias]], her father, when she became of age to marry. It was declared she would marry the first man to yoke a lion and a boar (or a bear in some cases) to a [[chariot]]. The man who would do this, [[Admetus|King Admetus]], was helped by [[Apollo]], who had been banished from Olympus for 9 years to serve as a shepherd to Admetus. With Apollo's help, Admetus completed the king's task, and was allowed to marry Alcestis. After the wedding, Admetus forgot to make the required sacrifice to [[Artemis]], and found his bed full of [[snakes]]. Apollo again helped the newly wed king, this time by making the [[Fates]] drunk, extracting from them a promise that if anyone would want to die instead of Admetus, they would allow it. Since no one volunteered, not even his elderly parents, Alcestis stepped forth. Shortly after, [[Heracles]] rescued Alcestis from [[Hades]], as a token of appreciation for the hospitality of Admetus. Admetus and Alcestis had a son, [[Eumelus]], a participant in the siege of [[Troy]], and a daughter, [[Perimele]].
 + 
 +[[John Milton | Milton]]'s famous sonnet, "Methought I Saw My Late Espoused Saint," alludes to the myth, with the speaker of the poem dreaming of his dead wife being brought to him "like Alcestis." [[Thornton Wilder]] wrote ''A Life in The Sun'' (1955) based on Euripides' play, later producing an operatic version called ''The Alcestiad'' (1962). The American choreographer [[Martha Graham]] created a ballet entitled ''Alcestis'' in 1960.
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Alcestis (Ἄλκηστις) is a princess in Greek mythology, known for her love of her husband. Her story was popularised in Euripides's tragedy Alcestis. She was the daughter of Pelias, king of Iolcus, and either Anaxibia or Phylomache. In the story, many suitors appeared before King Pelias, her father, when she became of age to marry. It was declared she would marry the first man to yoke a lion and a boar (or a bear in some cases) to a chariot. The man who would do this, King Admetus, was helped by Apollo, who had been banished from Olympus for 9 years to serve as a shepherd to Admetus. With Apollo's help, Admetus completed the king's task, and was allowed to marry Alcestis. After the wedding, Admetus forgot to make the required sacrifice to Artemis, and found his bed full of snakes. Apollo again helped the newly wed king, this time by making the Fates drunk, extracting from them a promise that if anyone would want to die instead of Admetus, they would allow it. Since no one volunteered, not even his elderly parents, Alcestis stepped forth. Shortly after, Heracles rescued Alcestis from Hades, as a token of appreciation for the hospitality of Admetus. Admetus and Alcestis had a son, Eumelus, a participant in the siege of Troy, and a daughter, Perimele.

Milton's famous sonnet, "Methought I Saw My Late Espoused Saint," alludes to the myth, with the speaker of the poem dreaming of his dead wife being brought to him "like Alcestis." Thornton Wilder wrote A Life in The Sun (1955) based on Euripides' play, later producing an operatic version called The Alcestiad (1962). The American choreographer Martha Graham created a ballet entitled Alcestis in 1960.




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