A MONOLOGUE FROM THE PLAY ‘ALCESTIS’ BY EURIPIDES
SPEECH BY ADMETUS
O friends, whatsoever may be thought by others, to me it seems that my wife's fate is happier than mine. Now, no pain ever shall touch her again; she has reached the noble end of all her sufferings. But I, I who should have died, I have escaped my fate, only to drag out a wretched life. Only now do I perceive it.
How shall I summon strength to enter this house?
Whom shall I greet?
Who will greet me in joy at my coming?
Whither shall I turn my steps?
I shall be driven
forth by solitude when I see my bed widowed of my wife, empty the chairs on
which she sat, a dusty floor beneath my roof, my children falling at my knees
and calling for their mother, and the servants lamenting for the noble lady
lost from the house!
Such will be my life within the house. Without, I shall be driven from marriage-feasts and gatherings of the women of Thessaly. I shall not endure to look upon my wife's friends. Those who hate me will say: 'See how he lives in shame, the man who dared not die, the coward who gave his wife to Hades in his stead! Is that a man? He hates his parents, yet he himself refused to die!'
This evil fame I have added to my other sorrows.
O my friends, what then avails it that I live, if I must live in misery and shame?