Hippolytus. 428 B.C.

Prologus, 1-120. (Aphrodite, Hippolytus, Hunters, Attendant)

Aphrodite explains the reason for her anger with the too chaste Hippolytus. Hippolytus and his attendant hunters sing a hymn in honor of Artemis. One of his attendants warns him not to neglect Aphrodite.
Parodos, 121-169. (Chorus)
The Chorus of the ladies of Troezen tell of the the illness of Phaedra and wonder over its cause.
First episode, 170-524. (Phaedra, Nurse, Chorus)
Phaedra comed outside with her nurse, who begs to know the cause of her illness. Phaedra finally avows her passion for Hippolytus. Phaedra declares her resolve to die to save her good name. The nurse counsels Phaedra to yield to her passion. Phaedra will not. The nurse departs, ostensibly to fetch an anti-love potion.
First stasimon, 525-564. (Chorus)
The Chorus sings an ode on the power of Eros.
Second episode, 565-731. (Phaedra, Hippolytus, Nurse, Chorus)
The nurse has told of Phaedra's love to Hippolytus, who is aghast and makes a loud disturbance. He arrives and delivers and abuses Phaedra, and women in general. But he will say nothing because of an oath of silence he gave to the nurse. Phaedra is much displeased with the nurse, whom she dismisses.
Second stasimon, 732-775. (Chorus)
The Chorus wishes to flee this miserable world; and apostrophizes the ship which bore Phaedra from Crete under bad auspices.
Third Episode, 776-1101. (Maid (interior), Chorus; Theseus; Hippolytus)
The suicide of Phaedra is revealed by a maid calling from the palace. Theseus arrives and the body is exposed. He sees a tablet in Phaedra's hand, which accuses Hippolytus of rape. Theseus is furious and prays to Poseidon for vengeance.

Hippolytus arrives, and defends himself against Theseus' accusations:

(1) he is a virgin; (2) Phaedra was not so exceptionally beautiful as to tempt him; (3) he prefers his honored but easy position to the difficulties of kingship; (4) he validates his innocence by his solemn oaths to the gods. Theseus is unimpressed, and banishes him. Hippolytus is tempted to break his oath of silence and accuse Phaedra, but decides against it and sadly departs.

Third stasimon, 1102-1150. (Chorus)
The Chorus laments the changing fortunes of man; Hippolytus' misfortune.
Exodos, 1151-1466. (Messenger, Theseus, Chorus; Artemis; Hippolytus)
A messenger arrives to announce the catastrophe of Hippolytus, driven by a bull from the sea to wreck his chariot. Theseus is content; he directs them to fetch the dying Hippolytus. The Chorus sing of the power of Cypris and Eros. Artemis appears and informs Theseus of the truth, excusing his error on the ground of ignorance. Hippolytus enters and speaks with Artemis: she could not stay the will of Aphrodite, but she will repay her; she will establish a cult to Hippolytus. Hippolytus forgives Theseus and then dies.


Under Athenian legend, Theseus was born in Troezen as the grandchild of the Troezen king Pitheus; later he discovers that his father is King Aegeus of Athens and takes over the kingship there. In Troezen, however, he was regarded as the son of Poseidon. The traditional myth surrounding Hippolytus went as follows: Phaedra was a shameless woman who, when she fell in love with Hippolytus, tried to seduce him. He rebuffed her, and she, in anger and self-defense (less he accuse her to Theseus), accused him of rape or attempted rape. Theseus cursed him, Poseidon sent the bull, and he was killed. Then Phaedra's treachery was exposed; whereupon she killed herself. This was probably more or less the plot, set in Athens, of Euripides' first version of the play,  IppolutoV KaluptomenoV, which was produced much earlier and was unsuccessful. Sophocles also produced a version of the myth, the Phaedra.  Euripides' recasting of the play won him one of his four first prizes.

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