Classics 143A Final Essay Outlines.docx

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Mario Telo

Choose one tragedy of Euripides among Hippolytus, Trojan Women and Ion and discuss the role that gender conflict plays in its thematic construct Hippolytus  Big ideas o Exaggerated self-confidence results in punishment from Aphrodite o Unstable relationship between language, perception, and reality o Eros – the most dangerous and psychomatic forces  From Kalyptomenos to Stephanophoros o Phaedra’s love was originally more shameless and she stayed alive to bear false witness against Hippolytus  Potiphar motif and contemporary connection o Role of the generally distrusted stepmother o Widow remarries, new wife who is around same age as stepson enters picture; creates opportunity for awkwardness  Dualism o There isn’t a clear hero and villain in this play o Hippolytus isn’t perfect – he is cocky and believes he is too good for woman, in particular, Aphrodite  “Since I am pure, I greet this one (Aphrodite) from afar”  Backgrounds o Hippolytus – son of Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons who hated sex o Phaedra – Cretan and daughter of Pasiphae who bore the minotaur  Relationship of dissonant harmony o Mirroring through physical descriptions of their bodies o Both describe them as worn out and need lifting o These states are a result of the situation  Mistrust o Hippolytus is vowed to silence, but Phaedra writes the letter because she fears her stepson telling Theseus o Fear as a gender driver  Does the son have a moral obligation to tell his father that overpowers a divine oath?  Is suicide a better option that experiencing Theseus’ reaction? What would a man do to his wife for having an affair with her stepson?  “nor will I come before Theseus’ face with disgraceful deeds done, for the sake of one life” o The conflict between father and son  Hippolytus is bound by his oath and cannot give his father a straightforward answer  Why does Theseus take Phaedra’s word against his sons? Does it have to do with the suicide of a woman?  Emotion and reason o Phaedra has an outward desire for honor and erotic desire she can no longer repress o Clearly this is a conflict between her conscious and subconscious wants o On respect, “one not bad, the other a burden on the house.” o “If what is appropriate were clear, there would not be two with the same letters”  The letter o Powerful symbol of the unreliability of signs and impossible communication between men and women o Compl
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