Beyond the Bounds: Twentieth-century Variations on the Myth of Alcestis

Novella Primo

Abstract


The study is focused on the comparison of some modern imitations (written by Rilke, Yourcenar, Savinio…) of the classical myth of Alcestis, the woman who sacrifices her life in order to save her husband, as it is told in Euripides’s prototype (438 B.C.).

The semantic of limen, considered both as threshold and border, becomes, in this paper, an interpretative key to go through the deep meaning of the texts that have been analysed.

The intertextual comparative perspective adopted has therefore the aim of considering the myth in a dynamic way, thanks also to the contribution of psychoanalysis, especially of Lacan’s seminars where many important theories about the theme of sacrifice in literature and about the condition of being «entre deux», that is between life and death, are explained thanks to some quotations taken from Alcestis’s myth.

The study also illustrates how, in the twentieth-century performances and poems, there is a contamination with other classical stories, like Pygmalion’s one.

Moreover all the modern rewritings suggest different solutions to the catabasis and especially to the rescue from death of Alcestis who comes back to life veiled and often voiceless. In all the myth’s variations the happy ending is indeed only partial because it is impossible to return truly among the living for whom has directly experienced death which is an implacable necessity.


Keywords


Alcestis; Myth; Boundary; Sacrifice; Rilke; Yourcenar; Savinio; Lacan

References


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Sitografia

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/621

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-17637

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