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University of Washington
CLAS 430

Classics 210: Greek & Roman Classics in English 10/14 Euripides’ Hippolytus  “But those whose pride is stiff-necked against me I lay by the heels” Aphrodite foreshadowing.  Aphrodite (goddess of love & beauty – sensual) angry with Hippolytus (son to Theseus) for rejecting her  makes Phaedra (Hippolytus’ step-mother, wife to Theseus) lust over him as a punishment.  Novel opens with Hippolytus and his friends singing praises to Artemis (goddess of the hunt – virginal.) They call her “most beautiful of all that live in Olympus”  A servant of Hippolytus warns Hippolytus about snuffing Aphrodite, cautioning that there may be dire consequences if he continues. Hippolytus leaves; the servant prays to Aphrodite stating that he has no part in rejecting her. He bows/worships her.  The Chorus describes the fate of a woman who is sick though no one, not even her servants, know what ails her. The Chorus gives various explanations such as an affair with another woman or “Hectate’s madness.”  The nurse comes to care for Phaedra, who is restlessly tossing to-and-fro. She begins to go in a maniac attack muttering about Artemis, going to the mountains and hunting.  Phaedra will still not disclose the cause of her sickness. Not to her beloved nurse or servants – she hides her sickness from her husband, swearing that she is not sick.  Nurse pesters Phaedra forcing a confession. Nurse vehemently states, “Cypris (Aphrodite), you are no God… You have ruined her and me and all this house.”  The nurse tells her all hope is not lost; there are magic love charms, spells of enchantment: various remedies for her love-sickness.  Phaedra makes the nurse swear to secrecy. However, she betrays that promise and tells Hippolytus.  Hippolytus goes into a long rant about women and all of the trouble they cause. He concludes with cursing them.  The chorus describes Phaedra’s life. Growing up in Crete  marriage to Theseus  curse of Aphrodite.  She hangs herself, choosing a good name rather than life; in the process easing her heart of its bitter and incestuous lo
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