42 pages 1 hour read



Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 428

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Important Quotes

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Content Warning: This section of the guide contains references to violence and death by suicide.

“There is joy in the heart of a god also

When honored by men.”

(Lines 8-9)

From the very beginning, the play establishes the principle that gods desire first and foremost to be “honored by men,” as Aphrodite observes here, immediately introducing the theme The Meaning of Honor. This principle is echoed again and again and informs the action of the play as Aphrodite cruelly punishes Hippolytus, whom she feels has dishonored her.

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“Renowned shall Phaedra be in her death, but none the less die she must.

Her suffering shall not weigh in the scale so much

that I should let my enemies go untouched

escaping payment of a retribution

sufficient to satisfy me.”

(Lines 47-50)

With these words, Aphrodite illustrates the often-destructive lengths to which the gods will go in order to get their way—in this case, Aphrodite has no problem sacrificing the innocent Phaedra so that she can get her revenge on her enemy Hippolytus. The Consequences of Divine Intervention are a defining aspect of the relationship between human beings and the gods as explored in the play.

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“You should be forgiving

when one that has a young tempestuous heart

speaks foolish words. Seem not to hear them.

You should be wiser than mortals, being gods.”

(Lines 116-120)

The Servant asks Aphrodite to forgive Hippolytus’s behavior, realizing as he does that, by neglecting love’s domain, the young man is dishonoring the goddess Aphrodite. The passage is an example of dramatic irony, as the audience already knows from Aphrodite’s Prologue that the goddess has no intention of forgiving Hippolytus, and indeed that the Servant’s notion that gods “should be wiser than mortals” is a fallacy that emphatically does not hold in the world of Euripidean