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Wilder’s Alcestis: Love, Death, and Meaning

Natalie Eleanor Patterson
Natalie Eleanor Patterson
Faculty Advisor(s)

Though Thornton Wilder often incorporated classical characters, concepts, and settings into his writing, he had a particular preoccupation with the myth of Alcestis. My research into Wilder’s oeuvre focuses on the question: In what ways does Wilder use the mythical Alcestis to convey themes of love, death, and meaning in his 1955 play The Alcestiad? My thesis examines Alcestis’s search for meaning and how it intersects with divine love, self-sacrifice, and understanding one’s life and place in the world.

Project Media

Natalie Eleanor Patterson is half-Cuban femme lesbian poet and editor from suburban Georgia and a senior at Salem College studying English and creative writing. Her poems have appeared in Sinister Wisdom, Hunger Mountain, and more, and she has received Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominations. Her debut chapbook, Plainhollow, is forthcoming from dancing girl press in 2021. She is an editor with Jacar Press and Sable Books.


It's not often I get to see that word in print!

I look forward to your presentation--there are paintings of The Weaver, The Measurer, and The Cutter in my house b/c of my artist spouse's fascination with the Alcestis story and the role of The Three Fates in it.

Congratulations on your poetry publications!

Submitted by Paula_Young on Tue, 04/13/2021 - 19:53 Permalink