47 pages 1 hour read



Fiction | Play | Adult | BCE

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Lines 1006-1063

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Lines 1006-1063 Summary


Heracles enters with a veiled and silent woman. He reprimands Admetus for concealing from him the truth about Alcestis, saying that friends should be honest with each other. He then asks Admetus to take in the woman he has brought with him, whom he introduces as a slave that he won in an athletic competition he found taking place nearby. Admetus, after first justifying his earlier dishonesty, asks Heracles to leave the woman with somebody else: He is uncomfortable bringing a young woman into household so soon after his wife’s death. In the ensuing dialogue, Heracles seeks to convince Admetus that the passage of time—and a new woman—will soften his pain while Admetus insists that he must remain faithful to his deceased wife.

Finally, at Heracles’s continued insistence, Admetus agrees to take in the veiled woman. As Admetus reluctantly takes the woman’s hand, Heracles asks him to look at her and “see if she does not seem most like / your wife” (1121-22). Admetus, incredulous, asks Heracles if the woman is really Alcestis, and Heracles responds that she is. He went to Alcestis’s tomb and fought Death himself away from her. He then explains that Alcestis will remain mute for three days, at which point “her obligations to the gods who live below” (1145) will be fulfilled, and she will be able to live out the rest of her life with Admetus.