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Euripides’ “Alcestis,” by Kathleen Rose O’neil


Guide Entry to 84.02.06:

This unit, Euripides’ “Alcestis,” is an introductory approach to the understanding of Greek tragedy and Euripidean tragedy in particular. This unit is designed for the middle school student of varying reading levels. It is a unit that should take from six to eight weeks and activities reflect the interdisciplinary approach. It is structured so that all activities will culminate in the actual performance of the “Alcestis.” Because the Alcestis is a fast moving, easily understandable relatively short and still relevant to today’s times, it was a natural choice for this unit.

The overall objective of this unit is to give students the chance to understand and appreciate Greek tragedy. It is also designed to allow students to focus upon one tragedian, Euripides and one work, “Alcestis.” Through this focusing, students will move out from that point to Greek Civilization during the 5th century B.C. and back to the heroic times and their myths. Students should begin to understand the vastness of the knowledge uncovered and the monumental loss of those works that will be buried forever.

The unit contains a synopsis of the “Alcestis,” Euripides’ life and Greek tragedy. The information, though not exhaustive, does give a good foundation for the teacher to build on in the teaching of the Alcestis and its author, Euripides.

(Recommended for Literature classes, grades 6 through 8)

Key Words

Drama Ancient Greek Euripides Literature Theater

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