Morals In Hippolytus Essay

1065 words - 5 pages

There are many themes throughout Hippolytus that could be interpreted as morals. However, as the differences in society and religion between our time and Euripides? time are so great, these morals are relevant in different ways to the Ancient Greeks and to us.Ancient Greek Audience: This tragedy would have first been performed at the City Dionisia, a very religious, if entertaining, festival, therefore it is unlikely that even Euripides, a playwright known for challenging accepted views, would leave out the main moral that occurs in most Athenian tragedies: that of honouring and respecting the Gods. In fact, this would have been the most likely moral to be picked up by the ancient ...view middle of the document...

For example, Phaedra is willing to die in order to preserve her so far perfect reputation, saying ?I would not wish my right action to rest unknown, any more than to display my sin before the world.... I will never be known to bring dishonour on my husband or my children.? Hippolytus? downfall is, although planned by Aphrodite, his own fault for being so proud that he insults women to such an extent that one who loves him turns her love to murderous hatred, without realising that women have power of their own to hurt.Hippolytus calls women ?counterfeit coins, a curse on the human race... an evil pest... noxious weeds... hateful... evil....? The revenge constructed by Phaedra on hearing these insults, provoked by her ?situation? with Hippolytus, is reminiscent of Euripides Medea, from which the famous quote ?Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? is derived.The servant, wisely before any are aware of their impending doom, advises Hippolytus to ?Abhor pride, and avoid exclusiveness.? This characterisation of the servant could be linking the tragedy to that of Electra, in which Orestes marvels that such poor people can be so rich in kindness.However, Hippolytus does not realise that his pride caused his downfall, so he does not learn any lessons. Hippolytus still thinks he?s right at the end, as Artemis comes and praises him for his devotion and loyalty to her, however this contradicts the point of view put forward by Aphrodite in the prologue and throughout the play.Modern Audience: A modern audience however, is less likely to believe in the religious morals that the ancient Athenians would have seen, though they would recognise its importance due to the emphasis Aphrodite make on it in the beginning. Instead, we also ?learn? that it is wrong to jump to conclusions, to be rash and to judge too quickly.This can be found in many parts of the...

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