By Foster Hirsch
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Extra info for A Portrait of the Artist: The Plays of Tennessee Williams
For I shall never bury one more loved than her, nor one who treated me more kindly. She’s worthy of my honor; she alone was kind enough to die on my behalf. ) 23. The paean was a type of song used to signal healing, woe, and victory. It originated as a cult song for Apollo, who also bore the cult title Paean (see the note at line 92 above). A paean thus should not be sung to the “god below,” Hades. Any offering to a god of the earth should be accompanied by a libation of wine. SvarleinEuripies-00Bk Page 23 Tuesday, July 17, 2007 12:04 PM [435–461] ALCESTIS 23 CHORUS: [Strophe 1] Daughter of Pelias, farewell.
When the festive month Carneius26 comes and the moon in Sparta shines all night long, they will sing of you—and in opulent Athens. Your death leaves behind a rich song for our poets to nurture and revere. 475 480 [Strophe 2] If only I could send you back from the chambers, the chambers of Hades into the light, from the streams of Cocytus,27 plying the river below with my oar. For you were his only friend: you were the woman who loved him, and dared 24. Charon is the ferryman who takes the dead across the River Acheron into the Underworld.
For you were his only friend: you were the woman who loved him, and dared 24. Charon is the ferryman who takes the dead across the River Acheron into the Underworld. 25. As in Medea (420–33), the Chorus imagine poets creating new songs in celebration of female, not male, excellence. 26. Carneia was the Spartan festival in honor of Apollo during the month Carneius. 27. Cocytus and Acheron (mentioned at 474) are the two rivers that divide Hades from the land of the living. 485 SvarleinEuripies-00Bk Page 24 Tuesday, July 17, 2007 12:04 PM 24 490 495 EURIPIDES [461–483] to save your husband from Hades, giving your soul in exchange.