Here is a drawing reconstructing the whole vase painting. The play being performed on this stage set is most likely Euripidesí lost play Peleus. We can see a young woman eavesdropping at the door to the left and a young man wearing the headwear of a traveler. To his right is an older man, who is pouring wine on the ground as a libation. Peleus, who is the father of Achilles, has accidentally killed his father-in-law and has had to go into exile. He has come to Acastus in Iolcus, who is in the act of purifying him. The eavesdropping woman at the door may be Acastusís wife, Astydamia, who fell in love with Peleus but was rejected by the hero. In revenge she wrote a letter to Peleusí wife that he was going to marry Acastusís daughter and to her husband falsely accused Peleus of trying to rape her. With the help of the gods, Peleus thwarted Acastusí attempt to punish him and then killed Astydamia.
Although a temple or palace was the usual
background for tragedy, some plays, like the Philoctetes of Sophocles
and the later play of Euripides (now lost) required a wild setting.
The scenery of the Sophoclean play seems to have been very simple: a
and a rock. The Euripidean Philoctetes
a realistic representation of Philoctetes'
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