42 pages 1 hour read



Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 428

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Lines 1-564Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Lines 1-169 Summary (Prologue and Parodos)

Content Warning: This section of the guide summarizes and analyzes source material that features references to violence, sexual violence, and death by suicide.

The play is set in the city of Troezen before the palace of Theseus. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and sex, delivers a Prologue speech in which she introduces the backstory and the plot of the play. Aphrodite is angry at Hippolytus, the son of Theseus, because he has spurned erotic love, preferring to honor his patron goddess Artemis by remaining abstinent. Aphrodite has decided to punish Hippolytus by causing his stepmother Phaedra to fall in love with him. Now, having followed her husband Theseus into exile in Troezen, Phaedra is suffering from her forbidden love. Aphrodite admits that Phaedra is going to die—but not before the affair leads Theseus to bring about the death of Hippolytus. Aphrodite is willing to sacrifice Phaedra to have her revenge on Hippolytus.

Aphrodite exits as Hippolytus enters. He is accompanied by a secondary Chorus, made up of the friends and servants who attend him when he goes hunting. Hippolytus and the Chorus praise Artemis, and Hippolytus sets a garland as an offering in front of a statue of Artemis.