Phaedra: Study Guide
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!. However, Seneca's Phaedra denounces Hippolytus on stage and in person ( Seneca because of his unearthly relationship with Artemis (Euripides, Hippolytus 19). . this is made clear by Strophe's characteristic advice to her mother to find a. As punishment, Aphrodite caused Hippolytus' stepmother Phaedra to .. The first “act” ends when Phaedra decides to take Oenone's advice to.
We see him viciously act out the mistakes we know he will regret, and then tragically confront the truth of his errors.What is PHAEDRA COMPLEX? What does PHAEDRA COMPLEX mean? PHAEDRA COMPLEX meaning & explanation
All this occurring as the background to a literal, and therefore ironic, depiction of how Hippolytus came to be revered as a cult figure. Some scholars argue that it is unfair to measure Seneca exclusively by a standard of dramatic literature since he was foremost a philosopher and rhetorician. European culture in the Renaissance, having subsisted on a diet of Medieval morality plays for more than a millennium, was desperate for another point of view.
The question remains, though, as to what lessons the Renaissance playwrights were able to take from Seneca on the nature of drama.
Instead, Seneca names his work Phaedra, signaling that it is in this character that his Stoic lesson is to be found. From the start, Phaedra is presented as ruled by her passions. What power has guiding reason? Lust in its craving for debauchery invented the idea of love as god.
It gave passion this fake divinity, this title of respectability, so it could be freer to rove at will. Phaedra claims if she cannot act on her passion she must kill herself, and the nurse agrees to help her win Hippolytus.
Thus, Seneca has set up his philosophical lesson. From this point on, the main function of the drama is to reveal the inevitable tragic consequences of giving in to unreasonable passion. But, as the edifying story unfolds, it does not do so without utilizing a few capable dramatic techniques along the way.
This serves to humanize her, in that it is making the formerly selfish and indulgent character more pitiable, as well as to raise the stakes, similar to introducing a ticking clock into the drama.
The nurse rather tentatively and weakly speaks to Hippolytus of the pleasures of sexuality, and is met not only by a paean to the pleasures of woodland life, but also a tirade against the evils of womankind. With this the playwright has significantly raised the bar over which the nurse and, ultimately, Phaedra must leap to win the interest of Hippolytus. Their task is no longer simply to get him interested in Phaedra, they must first convince him of the merits of women in general. An obstacle has been presented which increases the dramatic tension.
We know what he does not—that she is scheming to seduce him. Then we see a quick series of reverses: Rather than seducing, she lunges at him. Rather than recoiling, he draws his sword to attack. Rather than fleeing, she ecstatically welcomes the chance to die at his hand. Rather than following through, he refuses to gratify her.
And finally, rather than being accused, the nurse immediately conspires to accuse Hippolytus of the crime. Now Phaedra and the nurse have gotten themselves in deep. And Seneca is well on his way in his illustration of the evils of human passion. It is necessary at this point to bring Theseus back from the underworld, where he has been incarcerated as a result of his own giving in to passion.
The Story of Hippolytus and Phaedra As Recounted By Euripides, Seneca and Racine « Screentakes
Phaedra claims she has been wronged but proceeds to coyly draw out the revelation of the perpetrator until Theseus cuts to the chase by threatening to torture it out of the nurse. There is nothing in this account that adds to the reason vs. However, from this point on the drama degenerates into a disjointed sequence of regret and recrimination. Wracked with grief and guilt, Phaedra admits her crime, accuses Theseus of doing worse than her, and then kills herself to be with Hippolytus in death.
Theseus asks why he has been brought back from the dead to bear such misfortune and begs the gods to take him. Seneca has succeeded at illustrating his philosophical point in the context of an engaging and diverting drama. Having been raised in the Jansenist sect of the Catholic church, which believed in the natural perversity of the human will that can only be overcome by individuals who are predestined by divine grace,  Racine never left behind the need to offer moral instruction.
He makes this aim clear in his preface to Phedre: To do thus is the proper end which every man who writes for the public should propose to himself. He even has the potential to be the sympathetic character, until we meet his stepmother Phaedra who is sick with an illicit love for him that she is working desperately to resist. In fact, she would rather kill herself than act on it.
We want to see her demonstrated virtue prevail. The point of attack in the story comes with the news that Theseus is dead. In addition, Hippolytus now has the opportunity to approach Aricia without betraying his father. The second act begins with Aricia confessing to Ismene her love for Hippolytus.
This introduces tension since it puts Phaedra at a disadvantage. When Hippolytus professes his love to Aricia and is received favorably by her, the tension builds. When Phaedra then reveals her love to Hippolytus and is violently rebuffed by him, she becomes profoundly vulnerable. This marks the mid-point, a nearly cataclysmic event in the middle of the story that shifts the internal balance of the main character. Indeed, Phaedra immediately changes from lovesick pursuer to scheming avenger.
Oenone conceives of a preemptive strike against Hippolytus even though we learn in the next scene that he has no thoughts of exposing Phaedra. 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 If I had succeeded, everyone would have reckoned me a wise woman. They call it wisdom when we happen to guess right. You gave me bad advice before and wicked help. Out of my sight! Poseidon 's bull can be seen beneath the horses.
Red-figured volute-krater bowl for mixing wine and water with two zones of decoration. After this unfriendly encounter with her nurse, Phaedra found a way to cure her ill by killing herself. Such was the end of Phaedra, who called Aphrodite her destroyer, and came to think that Love is merciless.
Father Poseidonsince you promised me three curses, with one of them now strike down my son! If they were valid curses that you gave me then, let my son not escape his fate to this day's end! And the god granted.