Jealousy In Phaedra's Hippolytus

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In Greek Tragedies I, edited by David Grene, Richmond Lattimore, Mark Griffith and Glenn W. Most, we are introduced to the play, Hippolytus which discusses the tragic story of Hippolytus’ destruction due to the lack of worship to Aphrodite, the goddess of love. More specifically, the play discusses how Aphrodite punishes Hippolytus by having his stepmother, Phaedra, fall in love with him. The question stands, is Phaedra worthy of pity? Well, the answer is she is worthy of pity due to the fact that, in the context of the play, Aphrodite is the one to blame for her feelings for Hippolytus. Also, when Phaedra discovers her feelings for her stepson, she never acts on them. And since she is only human, mistakes are bound to occur. As stated, in…show more content…
When Phaedra discovered her affection toward her stepson she could have acted on them and tried to seduce him but she did just the opposite. Instead of committing an unholy act and giving into her temptations, Phaedra decided to keep her feelings to herself and let them die with her. Though her attraction to Hippolytus is considered immoral, it’s important to acknowledge her strength to do the right thing and suppress her feelings. Phaedra’s will to withhold from her feelings is shown in various situations throughout the play. While Phaedra was sick and her nurse was trying to figure out the cause, Phaedra states, “But for me, honor lies in silence”(Hippolytus, 329) this shows that Phaedra never even wanted to admit her love for Hippolytus and chose to keep it to herself even if it meant she would fall ill. Later, when Phaedra’s nurse got her to admit the cause of her sickness, Phaedra explains, “At first when love had struck me, I reflected how best to bear it. Silence was my first plan: to conceal that illness”(Hippolytus 393-395) to prove that she decided it best to keep her feelings a secret. She further explains, “Next, I believed that I can conquer love, conquer it with discretion and good sense. And when that too failed me, I resolved to die”(Hippolytus, 398-400), Phaedra explained her whole plan on how she was going to go about her feelings for Hippolytus and none of it ever mentions trying to fulfill them. Phaedra also states, “I cannot bear that I should be discovered a traitor to my husband and my children”(Hippolytus, 420-421) to make clear where her loyalties lie and to prove that she would never do anything that went against her family. Through these lines, Phaedra can be seen as a righteous person whose family means the most to her and she clearly wants nothing to do with Hippolytus
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