Phaedra: Study Guide
Phaedra falls in love with one she should not: Hippolytus, her stepson. of a former marriage, such feelings that are commonly ascribed to stepmothers. Euripides' Hippolytus II, Phaedra attempts to initiate the affair with Hippolytus, being under the power of . of involvement in attempting to catalyze the relationship between Phaedra and Hippolytus. . And you, give me advice that is good!. In Phaedra, Hippolytus, a true hunter, becomes an erotic . and the effects of these relationships on meaning in different textual contexts. .. husband, in the end, all of his advice can be completely ignored by the capricious.
Hippolytus Father, your menos and the intensity of your phrenes are terrible. Although your arguments are well put, if one lays them bare, your charge is no good. I have little skill in speaking before a crowd; I am more sophos with my own contemporaries and small groups. But this is fate: First I will speak of the point which you used at first to undermine me so that I might not respond. You see this sunlight and earth? I am the same behind their backs as to their face.
The crime in which you think to have caught me I am up to this moment untouched by, for my body is still pure of sexual love. I know nothing of its practice except what I have heard or seen in pictures.
Was Phaedra the most beautiful woman? I would surely then have been a fool and out of my phrenes. I say not, since monarchy is only pleasing to those whose phrenes are impure.
There it is possible to be happy, and the absence of danger gives a more powerful pleasure [kharis] than tyranny. There is one more thing I have not said, but the rest you have heard. If there were a witness to my worth, or if I were contesting Phaedra still alive, you would see who is evil by reviewing the facts.
May I die without kleos and nameless, and let neither sea [pontos] nor land receive my flesh when I am dead, if I am a kakos man. Chorus The oath you speak by the gods sufficiently refutes the charge; it is a strong pledge. Hippolytus These same things amaze me in you too, father.
For if you were my son and I your father, I would have killed you and not punished you with banishment, if you saw fit to lay hands on my wife. Theseus Your remark is worthy of you. No, you will not die in this way that you pronounce for yourself, for a swift death is an easy end for wretchedness.
Exiled from your fatherland, you will live out your miserable life wandering in a foreign land. Hippolytus Oh, what will you do? Banish me without even waiting for the evidence of time on my behalf?
Theseus Indeed, beyond the pontos, beyond the bounds of Atlas, if I could, so much do I despise the sight of you. Banish me untried, without even testing my oath, the pledge I offer, the voice of seers?
Theseus Your righteousness is more than I can bear. Hippolytus Where, in my misery, can I turn? What house can I enter as guest [xenos], exiled on such a grave charge? Theseus Whoever enjoys receiving as guests [xenoi] corrupters of wives and partners in evil. Hippolytus This wounds my heart and brings me close to tears, that I should appear so kakos and you believe me so.
Would that you could find a voice to testify for me, if I were a kakos man. Theseus Wisely you run to a voiceless witness; this deed here is voiceless too, but it clearly proves your guilt.
Hippolytus If only I could stand outside myself and look; then I would weep to see the evil I suffer [paskhein]. Theseus It is your character to honor yourself far more than your parents, as it would be right [dikaios] for you to do. Let none of my philoi suffer to be born a bastard. Hippolytus Whoever lays a hand on me will regret it.
I feel no pity come over me for your exile. Hippolytus It is fixed then, so it seems. I am wretched, for although I know well these things here, I know no way to indicate them.Euripides: Hippolytus - Summary and Analysis
Farewell, polis, and land of Erekhtheus; farewell, Trozen, you hold the many happinesses [eudaimoniai] of youth. Looking at you for the last time I bid farewell.
Come, young men, companions of my country, greet me kindly and escort me from this land. Hippolytus exits with many followers. Theseus enters the palace. Chorus strophe 1 When I consider how much the gods care for human beings, my grief is lessened, yet, though I cherish a hidden hope for some understanding, I fall short of it when I look at the fortunes and deeds of mortals.
And by your exile the rivalry for your bridal bed among the unwed girls is lost. Poor mother, who gave you life in vain, I rage at the gods. Look, I see an attendant of Hippolytus with a troubled expression hastening towards the palace. Messenger Women, where can I find the king of this land, Theseus? Chorus Here he is coming out of the palace now. Messenger Theseus, the news I bring is a matter of concern for you, and for the citizens who dwell in Athens and within the bounds of the land of Trozen.
Theseus What is it? Has some new calamity overtaken these two neighboring cities? Messenger Hippolytus is no more, to speak just a word [epos]; although he still sees the light of day, he is in a slender balance.
Theseus At whose hands? Messenger It was his own chariot that killed him, and the curses that you uttered against him, when you prayed to your father Poseidon, lord of the pontos, to kill your son.
Poseidon, you are truly my father, since you heard my curse! How did he perish? Then Hippolytus himself came to us on the beach with the same tearful song, and with him was a countless throng of philoi, who followed after.
Servants, harness my horses to the chariot, for this polis is no longer mine. Then he caught up the reins from the chariot rail while fitting his feet into place. Just as we were coming to a lonely spot, a strip of sand beyond the borders of this country, sloping right to the Saronic gulf, there came a rumbling sound from the earth, like the thunder of Zeus, and a deep roar issued forth that was horrible to hear; the horses raised their heads up to heaven and pricked their ears, and among us there was wild fear to know the source of the sound.
And in the moment that the mighty wave broke, it issued forth a wild bull, whose bellowing filled the whole land with frightful echoes, a sight too awful, as it seemed to us who witnessed it. Whenever he would take the reins and steer for softer ground, the bull would appear in front to turn him back again, making his horses mad with terror, but if in their frantic rage they ran toward the rocks, the bull would draw near the chariot rail, keeping up with them, until, suddenly dashing the wheel against a stone, he overturned and wrecked the car.
Then there was confusion everywhere, wheel naves and axle pins were thrown into the air, while poor Hippolytus, entangled in the reins, was dragged along, bound by a stubborn knot, his own head dashed against the rocks, his flesh torn while he cried out terribly: Father, your pitiless curse!
Is there anyone who will save a most noble [aristos] man? I am just a slave in your house, lord, and yet I will never be able to believe that your son is kakos, not even if the whole race [genos] of women should hang themselves, or if someone should fill with writing every pine tree grown on Mount Ida.
I know that Hippolytus is noble [esthlos]. Chorus Alas, a misfortune of new evils is accomplished; there is no escape from fate and necessity. Do we bring him here? Consider this, if you will take my advice: Theseus Bring him here, so that I can see him with my own eyes and condemn him with words and with this misfortune from the daimones, since he has denied that he abused my wife. Chorus Kypris, you guide the unyielding phrenes of gods and mortals, together with Love, who on painted wing embraces his victims in swift flight.
He flies over the land and over the resounding salty sea [pontos], on golden wings, maddening the hearts and beguiling the senses of all whom he attacks: Among agathoi men you now have no share in life.
Phaedra - Greek Mythology Link
Listen, Theseus, to the state of your misfortune. Although it can do no good, still I wish to pain you, for I came with this intent: For she was cruelly stung with a passion for your son by that goddess who is most hostile to those who take pleasure in virginity.
But he would have none of her advice, as was right [dikaios], and not even when you abused him did he take back his oath, for he was pious. Be quiet a little longer; hear what follows so that you can lament even more. You have now used one of them pitifully on your own son instead of against some enemy.
Your father of the sea [pontos] meant kindly, but he granted what was necessary, since he had promised. Theseus Goddess, let me die. Artemis You have done an awful thing, yet it is still possible for you to have forgiveness even for this. This is law amongst the gods: Know well that if I did not fear Zeus, I would never have come to the disgrace of allowing the man most philos to me of all mortals to die. On you especially these misfortunes burst, but they are grievous to me as well.
The gods take no pleasure when the righteous die, but the kakoi we destroy utterly, their children and their homes. Chorus Look, here he comes now, poor thing, his youthful skin and fair head shamefully abused. This happened in Troezensay some, or in Athenssay others. And it is also told that before returning to AthensTheseus abandoned at the mercy of wild beasts Phaedra's sister Ariadnewhom he had taken with him promising her marriage. Conflict with the Amazon In any case, it is told that when the wedding of Theseus and Phaedra was being celebrated, a troop of AMAZONSled by her who had before married Theseusappeared in front of the guests, threatening to kill everybody.
This army is said to have assembled in the northern coast of the Black Sea, and descending through Thrace and northern Hellas, came to Attica, taking position on the slopes of the Areopagus, in the place later called Amazoneum. Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein, For this reason, they say, Theseus ' father in law was in charge of the young man, bringing him up to be the future king of Troezenwhich at the time was subject to Athens.
Others say that Theseus and Phaedra were self-exiled in Troezen on account of the death of the Pallantides, a faction that revolted against Theseusbeing violently repressed by him. But on her return to Athensshe told her husband that her stepson had proposed lying with her. Theseus then decided to put his son to the test, and Phaedra, fearing the result of that interrogation, hanged herself.
The nurse's good intentions It has also been told that Phaedra, who until then had just gazed upon him from a certain hidden spot when he practised his exercises, hanged herself when her passion was made public. The image summarizes the passions playing upon the characters: The gossipy nurse is behind her.
For marriage, he believed, consists in supporting a stranger, who usually squanders the family fortune, spending in gowns and other beautiful things that she heaps on her hatefulness. And the more clever the woman, the worse, he thought; for according to him, the sexual urge breeds wickedness more readily in clever women.
But when Phaedra learned about her nurse's adventures, the least she said was: And when the nurse attempted to explain herself