1. What useful background information does Apollo convey to the audience in his beginning speech?
  2. What character traits are manifested by Death? Is the use of an allegorical figure effective? What is his final threat?
  3. In what way are Apollo’s sympathetic remarks significant to the plot?
  4. What testimony to Alcestis’ character is provided by the citizens of Athens? What dramatic effect is served by their debates over whether she has died? Do they believe that Admetus will gain by her death?
  5. Why do you think so much of the story is told indirectly? Is this consistent with the ideals of Greek tragedy?
  6. What are Alcestis’ chief preoccupations as she bids farewell to life? What will she miss most? How does she behave in parting from her servants?
  7. Does the chorus feel more grief for Admetus or Alcestis? Can you explain their concern? Who seems to be the protagonist of the play?
  8. What emotions does Admetus express in his opening speeches?
  9. When she bids her husband farewell, whom does Alcestis blame for her death? What final promise does she ask of her husband? Were he to remarry, for whom would she fear most?
  10. As she prepares for death, in what does Alcestis take greatest satisfaction?
  11. What does Admetus promise he will do to commemorate his wife’s death? Do you find his regrets altogether sincere? Does Alcestis seem to believe him? Is he consistent in begging her to take him with her into the grave? Do you think this is his deepest wish?
  12. On pages 21ff., what seems to be the attitude of the chorus towards Admetus?
  13. What is Heracles’ purpose in seeking out Admetus? Why does Admetus not tell Heracles why he is in mourning? Why does he press Heracles not to depart?
  14. How does the chorus respond to Admetus’ zeal at hospitality?
  15. How does Pheres commemorate his daughter-in-law’s death? What do his reactions reveal about his character?
  16. How does Admetus answer his remarks, and on what grounds does Pheres defend himself? Are his justifications convincing? What does he think of his son’s conduct?
  17. Why does the servant complain about Heracles? When he learns of Alcestis’ death, what does Heracles resolve to do?
  18. To what qualities does Heracles attribute Admetus’ evasions?
  19. Do you think that by this point of the narrative (p. 42) Admetus truly wishes to join his wife in death? How does the chorus think he should react? Why does Admetus feel Alcestis is happier than he?
  20. Are there signs that Admetus has begun to feel guilty? Does he agree with the judgments of his accusers?
  21. Does the chorus express any hope that Alcestis may be resurrected?
  22. Why does Admetus at first reject Heracles’ offer of a female servant? How does Heracles regard this refusal? Why does he finally accept her into his household?
  23. What is the purpose of the ending? What do you think may be some of the author’s intentions in writing such an unusual play? What might have been some of its meanings for its original audience?
  24. Do the play’s supernatural elements detract from its psychological realism?
  25. Does the play’s happy ending make it a comedy?
  26. What attitudes toward royalty, kinship, hospitality to prestigious visitors, women, and the obligations of marriage partners seem implicit in this play?
  27. What seem to be Euripides’ attitudes toward the characters he presents?
  28. Did you like this play more or less than other Greek dramas you have read? What are its literary merits and demerits?
  29. How does Euripides’ world view seem different from that of Homer? Of Plato and Socrates?