And all others, who love, and who will love, must they die too?

Euripides’ Phaedra was a puppet of the Gods, overcome by Aphrodite’s need for revenge on Hippolytus, given no choice but to love him madly and to kill herself to escape that love which would ruin her honour. Seneca’s Phaedra is a spoiled princess who wants the world to move around her desire for her stepson, Hippolytus, who is willing to ruin the honour ruin her own honour and that of her entire household to satisfy that need. And who kills herself when she is denied what she wants.

How can one woman be both?

And in each, Hippolytus is both a staunch unblemished servant of Artemis and a hater of woman. Strange that while the woman changes, the man remains the same.

Seneca’s Phaedra is the weakness of women, who give in to their desire. Seneca hates women. In Euripides, Hippolytus’ hatred of women is something the audience is supposed to find ridiculous.

I like the Greeks far more than the Romans. At least a woman’s weakness isn’t inherent in the Greek.

“The tide of love, at its full surge, is not withstandable.” (Eur. Hippolytus 443) I like that idea, in the Greek, as well, that love is undeniable, that it has power over mortals and Gods alike.

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  1. Hezabelle » Mythology Mondays: A hero’s welcome — June 9, 2009 @ 7:11 am

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