Character and motivation of hippolytus

He cannot doubt that his son has threatened and assaulted his wife; he has seen with his own eyes the sword which Hippolytus left behind with the women. But why did Phaedra herself not tell him the truth? Oenone explains that Phaedra wished only to spare her husband this shame and sorrow and was preparing to die rather than speak when Oenone found her, heard her story, and came to inform Theseus.

Character and motivation of hippolytus

Every character in the play suffers to some degree. Indeed, it is their suffering that serves, on one level at least, to create a community that is organized as a kind of counterpoint to the other community in the play—that of the gods who weigh in upon the lives of the characters. Significantly, it is the intersection of these two communities that proves problematic in the play, as the supernatural figure of Aphrodite, in particular, steps forward as a force that must be appeased in her desire for followers.

At another level, though, Hippolytus is a play that speaks directly to the cultural and philosophic concerns of more modern times. The play asks many of the tough questions that philosophers and writers have struggled with for millennia. Is there a higher power ordering this world as a kind of transcendent guide to a right and good life?

Is there such a thing as a just world or truthful world? What are the powers and limitations of reason and intelligence in dealing with this world?

And finally, is it possible to live an ethical or moral life given these questions? The consensus is that Euripides was born on September 23, b. Although few solid details of his childhood survive, there is evidence that Euripides was greatly influenced in his youthful reading by such writers as Protagoras c.

Euripides was reportedly married twice, once to a woman named Choerile and also to a woman named Melito, though it is unclear which woman was his first wife and which woman was his second.

Very little is known of his life beyond his work as a tragedian writer of tragedies. He is considered the last of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, along with Aeschylus b.

Euripides entered a play in the Dionysia the most famous of Athenian drama festivals for the first time in b. He continued to compete in the festival regularly, winning prizes four times during his lifetime. Hippolytus took first prize in b. Euripides was also awarded one posthumous victory for his play The Bacchae.

Given that Aeschylus reportedly won more than a dozen of these competitions, and Sophocles carried off eighteen victories, it is understandable that Euripides might have become disheartened in defeat.

Whatever the reason, Eurpides left Athens in either b. Euripides reportedly died in Macedonia during the winter of b. Many of his plays were freely revised by Seneca c. References in this plot summary are derived from comments by ancient writers, who often provided relevant information about the staging of the plays, as well as from more recent scholarly inferences about Greek theatrical conventions.

Accordingly, mention of stage directions in the Plot Summary has been kept to a minimum. Prologue The play opens in front of the palace of Theseus in Troizen, with the statues of Artemis goddess of the hunt and Aphrodite goddess of love, lust, and beauty placed on opposing sides of the stage.

The living goddess Aphrodite appears, and in the prologue to the main action declares her intention to punish Hippolytus, the chaste son of Theseus, who chooses to worship Artemis rather than Aphrodite. She has placed a love for Hippolytus into the heart of Phaidra, the wife of Theseus and stepmother of Hippolytus.

Her hope is that Theseus, upon discovery of this love, will kill his son using one of the three fatal wishes that he has been granted by Poseidon god of the sea and of earthquakes. Act 1 Hippolytus enters the stage with his entourage of huntsmen leading dogs and carrying weapons from the hunt. He praises the statue of Artemis, placing a garland upon her head as a tribute to her.

A servant suggests that Hippolytus might want to honor Aphrodite in the same manner, but the young hunter ignores the advice, thereby completing his insult of the powerful goddess. The Chorus of townswomen enters, telling the story of the love-sick Phaidra.

They wonder at the cause of her illness, positing that she might have gone mad or is responding to some slight from her husband. The love-sick Phaidra enters the stage, accompanied by numerous servants and her own Nurse.

The Nurse initially talks her queen into confessing to the chorus both the source of her sickness and her resolve to die rather than to continue suffering. The Nurse then turns to comforting the suffering queen, suggesting that Phaidra act on her love rather than allowing herself to be consumed slowly and painfully.

Finally, the Nurse promises to assist Phaidra by concocting a special medicine that is strong enough to change the course of love.


What she needs in order to complete this antidote, the Nurse explains, is a piece of hair or clothing from Hippolytus. As Phaidra contemplates her decision, she also implores the Nurse never to reveal the truth behind her sickness to Hippolytus.

As Phaidra listens at the door, she hears a commotion within, telling her that the Nurse has betrayed her secret to her stepson. Hippolytus bursts onto the stage, with loud declarations of his horror and dismay at the revelation. Venting his anger, Hippolytus goes into an extended tirade against the weaknesses of women, calling them "a huge natural calamity" among many other slights, most of which focus on their sexual appetites and what Hippolytus derides generally as their lewdness.

Phaidra raises little defense to these charges, though she does claim that all women "are violated by destiny," creating a hurt that "never leaves.In the character of Hippolytus, Euripides creates a deeply flawed tragic figure. A victim of both Aphrodite's vengeful spirit and Theseus's misguided abuse of his power as king, Hippolytus himself is not without complicity in the tragedy of the play.

Bryn Mawr Classical Review Hanna M. Roisman, Nothing Is As It Seems: The Tragedy of the Implicit in Euripides' Hippolytus. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, The motivation for his silence, obscure though students sometimes find it, is firmly rooted in his character and his love for his father.

Innocent though Hippolytus may be, the revelation that his father's wife has made advances to him must inevitably strain the relationship between father and son, and the strain will be increased if it is.

Character and motivation of hippolytus

From this we speech we learn some things about his character and motivation. Firstly is his unequal devotion to Artemis. Firstly is his unequal devotion to Artemis. Aphrodite tells us that she is his 'queen of heaven', highlighting Hippolytus' servile character.

Character and motivation of hippolytus

What do we learn about the character and motivation of Hippolytus in the play? Do we feel sympathy towards him?

The Hippolytus starts with a soliloquy by Aphrodite and from this we learn about Hippolytus' rejection of the goddess, something that will result in the death of both himself and his stepmother. Hippolytus Critical Analysis Sample Essay. Free Will Versus Control in Phaedra’s Outburst and the Nurse’s Rebuttal in Euripides’ Hippolytus ( ) In antediluvian Grecian civilization - Hippolytus Critical Analysis Sample Essay introduction.

it was believed that worlds were in control of their ain fates and actions despite being capable to the caprices of the Gods.

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