A recurrent concern of Greek thought is brought to the stage in Alcestis: what are the limits of written law? May it sometimes be fairer to go beyond written law than to comply with it? This controversy, evident throughout the play, is articulated with the rhetorical resources we are familiar with mainly through Aristotle’s Rhetoric. The most important one is persuasion through the character of the speaker: the audience will be persuaded if the speaking person shows himself as a reliable man (ἀξιοπιστία), possessing wisdom (φρόνησις), courage (ἀρετή) and good will (εὔνοια). The question regarding what is fair and what is legal is also treated in Rhetoric: Aristotle exposes the respective advantages and disadvantages of behaving strictly within the boundaries of written law or of giving priority to equity. Regarding this issue the principal characters in Alcestis have opposed ideas, which reflect their divergent ἦθος.
Οι χαρακτήρες στην Άλκηστη του Ευριπίδη και η στάση τους απέναντι στον νόμο