Phaedra and hippolytus relationship

Phaedra (mythology) - Wikipedia

phaedra and hippolytus relationship

After Phaedra declares her love, Hippolytus lashes out and strikes to kill her for her though Phaedra never consummates her relationship with Hippolytus as. At the heart of the conflict in Hippolytus is the theme of betrayal, which threatens nearly every human relationship in the play. Phaedra's desire. Phaedra's relationship with men is a dysfunctional one showing her to be completely dependent. She is in love with Hippolytus and when she cannot have a.

Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes, who are generally called 'the Milesians'.

phaedra and hippolytus relationship

We know of their teachings not first hand from their own works, which have not survived, but only from references to them in the works of Aristotle and other authors. Their main interest as philosophers is indicated by the term commonly applied to the Milesians and later Presocratics in Greek literature: The physikoi sought the basic substance of the universe, but in addition to science they were also interested in ethics and the criticism of contemporary religion.

This kind of speculation was continued in Ionia, Italy, Sicily and elsewhere by Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Democritus and finally by Anaxagoras, who came to Athens in the middle of the fifth century. The greatest contribution of these philosophers was their application of rational analysis to the world, which earlier had been viewed only in mythical terms. As Cicero explains in his Tusculan Disputations: The traveling teachers called Sophists, whose teachings had an enormous influence on the thought of the fifth century B.

Perhaps because of the mutually contradictory answers offered by the Presocratics as to the nature of the universe, the Sophists turned from theoretical natural science to the rational examination of human affairs for the practical betterment of human life. This approach to life began to undermine the mythological view of the world evident in poetry with its emphasis on the involvement of anthropomorphic deities in the natural world and in human action.

Phaedra and Hippolytus – Euripides

Divine causation was no longer the only explanation of natural phenomena and human action. Most Sophists were non-Athenians who attracted enthusiastic followings among the Athenian youth and received large fees for their services.

Sophists flocked to Athens no doubt due to the favorable attitude of Pericles towards intellectuals. Pericles was a staunch rationalist; he had been trained in music and political affairs by Sophists.

He was associated with the great sophist Protagoras of Abdera and two important Pre- Socratic: Zeno of Elea and Anaxagoras of Clazomenae. The latter taught that the universe was governed by pure intelligence and his assertion that the sun, moon and stars are red hot stones and not gods led to his prosecution for impiety. Perhaps the best illustration of Pericles's rationalism is a story told by Plutarch of how Pericles, when an eclipse of the sun generally considered a bad omen frightened the helmsman of his ship, held up his cloak before the helmsman's eyes and asked him if he thought that this was a bad omen.

Upon receiving a negative answer, Pericles then asked the helmsman whether there was any difference between his holding up of the cloak before his eyes and the eclipse of the sun except that the eclipse was brought about by an object larger than the cloak i. Pericles was no doubt applying knowledge he had obtained from Anaxagoras, who is generally credited with being the first to explain the true cause of solar eclipses.

Pericles's rational approach to life and that of his circle of friends was as unpopular as his democratic politics among conservative groups in Athens, but it must have encouraged Sophists from all over the Greek world to flock to Athens as a potentially fertile ground for their teachings. Most Sophists claimed to teach arete 'excellence' in the management of one's own affairs and especially in the administration of the affairs of the city.

Up to the fifth century B. The Sophists claimed to be able to help their students better themselves through the acquisition of certain practical skills, especially rhetoric the art of persuasion.

Advancement in politics was almost entirely dependent upon rhetorical skills. The Athenian democracy with its assembly ekklesiain which any citizen could speak on domestic and foreign affairs, and the council of five hundred bouleon which every Athenian citizen got a chance to serve, required an ability to speak persuasively.

The Sophists filled this need for rhetorical training and by their teaching proved that education could make an individual a more effective citizen and improve his status in Athenian society. Although there were many differences among the Sophists in terms of their specific teachings, it is safe to say that there was a common philosophy which many Sophists shared and which permeated their teachings.

The most prominent element in this philosophy was skepticism 'a doubting state of mind'. The skepticism of the Sophists took various forms: The relativity of truth was the basis of Protagoras's rhetorical teaching. He trained his students to argue on both sides of a question because he believed that the whole truth could not be limited to just one side of a question. Therefore, he taught his students to praise and blame the same things and to strengthen the weaker argument so that it might appear the stronger.

These techniques are based on the belief that truth is relative to the individual. Arguments on both sides of a question are equally true because those debating a question can only truly know those things which exist in their own mind and therefore cannot make a definitely true statement about objective realities outside the mind phenomenalism. Truth is what it appears to be to the individual.

Since it is not possible to know what is absolutely true, there is only one standard left by which to determine correct action: If an action is advantageous to the individual, then it is good.

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This idea was sometimes employed by the unscrupulous to justify morally questionable behavior, but Protagoras apparently was opposed to an indiscriminate use of this principle. His belief in the relativity of truth did not prevent him from believing that in making moral decisions one can still distinguish between an action which is morally better and one that is morally worse.

The Sophists were also interested in the cultural development of man as a member of society. The Sophists saw man himself as a product of nature, but society and civilization as artificial human products. On one hand, man is a natural creature subject to certain laws of nature which he cannot help but obey.

On the other hand, he lives in a society, the rules and structure of which have no roots in nature and are based only on custom. The distinction here apparent is one between nature physis and custom or convention nomosa commonplace antithesis in fifth century literature popularized by the Sophists. One of the great controversies of the fifth century was whether the gods, human society and distinctions among human beings such as Greek and Barbarian, master and slave, were the result of physis or nomos, nature or custom.

Before the fifth century, human institutions and customs were generally seen as handed down by the gods and part of the natural order of things, but contact with other civilizations began to make it evident that institutions and customs were different among different peoples and introduced the idea of cultural relativism.

According to this theory, societies create their own customs and institutions to suit their own peculiar needs and conditions.

Phaedra (mythology)

A graphic example of cultural relativism occurs in Herodotus's Histories 3. In order to illustrate the point that everyone thinks his own customs and religion are the best, Herodotus tells the story of certain Greeks at the court of the Persian king who are shocked and disgusted when he asks them how much money they would require as an inducement to eat the dead bodies of their fathers.

On another occasion with Greeks present, the king asked some Indians, who in fact did eat their fathers' corpses, what they would take to burn their dead as the Greeks do. The Indians' horror at this suggestion equaled that of the Greeks on the earlier occasion. Herodotus concludes this anecdote with a quotation from the poet Pindar: This was also the attitude of most Sophists with regard to the origins of the gods, human society and distinctions among human beings.

All these were considered by the Sophists as human creations designed to serve specific needs. Thus, there began to grow up the antithesis between man-made law nomos and natural law which has its origins in unchanging nature physis.

A modern example of a nomos is the agreement that a red traffic light means 'stop' while a green one means 'go', while an instance of a natural law is the law of gravity. If a legislative body so ordained, red could mean 'go' and green, 'stop'.

Under the right circumstances, the traffic light can be ignored with impunity. On the other hand, the law of gravity cannot be repealed by man and compels obedience to itself. Although the physis - nomos antithesis was common in the teachings of most Sophists, their views of physis with regard to human nature could differ widely.

To some Sophists, the realization that all men have much the same human nature required the abolishment of all artificial distinctions among men, such as Hellene and Barbarian, master and slave.

Other Sophists saw human nature as an aggregate of man's animalistic inclinations to aggression and domination by physical strength. Human law nomos which restricted those inclinations was seen as an artificial constraint contrary to the natural order of things, created by the weaker members of society.

This view was the philosophical basis of the rhetorical argument of "the right of the stronger" "might makes right" which is used by a number of speakers in Thucydides's History and which you will see advanced by the sophist Thrasymachus in Plato's Republic.

The Sophists who advocated this argument saw men in the image of animals in the wild and often recommended the animal world as a model for the human. According to this view, any attempt to constrain the natural human tendency of aggression is not only wrong, but useless.

Nature overrides any artificial constraints set up by man. Just as in the animal world, the strong will always be victorious over and dominate the weak. Not all Sophists, however, subscribed to this theory.

Protagoras believed that men, left to their own natural savage instincts, would destroy each other. In his view nomos, although only an artificial creation of man, enables men to survive and makes possible civilized communal life.

For example, a man charged with assault against a larger and stronger man could argue that it is not likely that he would have attacked such a person. On the other hand, if the man accused of assault were very large, he could argue that a man whose very size would make him a suspect would not be likely to have committed such a crime.

The intellectual revolution fomented by the Sophists also reached into the area of religion. Most Sophists saw the gods as creations of men.

In general, Sophists were either agnostic or atheistic and saw the world as operating on the principle of natural rather than divine causation. There was very little room in Sophistic thought for the old anthropomorphic gods. This, of course, is not to say that the gods disappeared from ancient Greek life because of Sophistic skepticism. The Sophists and their students represented an intellectual minority.

The average man, who could not care less about these avant-garde theories, distrusted intellectuals and regarded the agnosticism and atheism of the Sophists as irreligious and impious. Protagoras was an agnostic who claimed not to know whether the gods existed or not or anything about their appearance.

Many other Sophists tended toward atheism. The sophist Prodicus taught that men deify those things which are important to human life such as the sun, moon, rivers, springs, bread Demeterwine Dionysusfire Hephaistos and water Poseidon and at the same time somewhat inconsistently from the modern point of view the discoverers and providers of bread, wine and fire also called Demeter, Dionysus and Hephaistos.

Thus the goddess Demeter was considered simultaneously to be bread and the provider of bread just as Dionysus and Hephaistos were similarly viewed with regard to wine and fire.

Another atheistic theory about the origin of the gods is attributed to a certain Critias, an associate of Plato, who was not himself a professional sophist, but whose views were closely allied with those of the Sophists. Critias asserted that the gods were a contrivance of governments to insure that men would believe that everything done on earth whether openly or secretly was seen by the gods and would consequently be discouraged from violating the laws of the state. Otherwise, men, if not detected by other men, could break the laws of the state without fear of punishment.

Divine and Human Responsibility in Euripides' Hippolytus | Dimitris Papaioannou -

In this theory, belief in the gods brought stability to the state by providing sanction for its laws. Properly a name given by the Greeks to all those who professed knowledge, or a particular knowledge or a particular art. Hence the Seven Wise Men are often thus called; but the name was especially applied to the educated men of ready speech, who, from about the year B. They have the merit of having popularized the interest in knowledge which had up to that time been confined within narrow circles, and especially of having contributed to the formation of eloquence.

For they were the first to make style an object of study, and to institute serious investigations into the art of rhetorical expression. Their teaching was chiefly intended to give their pupils versatility in the use of speech, and thus to fit them for taking part in public life. As the subject of their discourses, they chose by preference questions of public interest to persons of general education.

The expression, however, always remained the important thing, while positive knowledge fell more and more into the background. Some of them even started from the position, that virtue and knowledge were only subjective notions.

Protagoras of Abdera, who appeared about B. Wherever they appeared, especially in Athens, they were received with the greatest enthusiasm, and many flocked to hear them. Even such men as Pericles, Euripides, and Socrates sought their society; and Socrates owed to them much that was suggestive in his own pursuit of practical philosophy, though, on the other hand, he persistently attacked the principles underlying their public teaching.

These principles became further exaggerated under their successors who did not think they needed even knowledge of fact to talk as they pleased about everything. Accordingly the skill of the Sophist degenerated into mere technicalities and complete absence of reason, and became absolutely contemptible.

With the revival of Greek eloquence, from about the beginning of the 2nd century A. At that time the name was given to the professional orators, who appeared in public with great pomp and delivered declamations either prepared beforehand or improvised on the spot. Like the earlier Sophists, they went generally from place to place, and were overwhelmed with applause and with marks of distinction by their contemporaries, including even the Roman emperors. Dion Chrysostom, Herodes Atticus, Aristides, Lucian, and Philostratus the elder, belong to the flourishing period of this second school of Sophists, a period which extends over the whole of the 2nd century.

They appear afresh about the middle of the 4th century devoting their philosophic culture to the zealous but unavailing defence of paganism.

Among them was the emperor Julian and his contemporaries Libanius, Himerius, and Themistius. Synesius may be considered as the last Sophist of importance. Euripides grows at a time when the sophistic movement in Athens is prosperingand his work reflects the spiritual strife and ferment of the period.

Euripides is considering as 'pupil of the sophists' and apostle of the sophistic movement from some scholars, but such a view is exaggerated. Euripides certainly watched with interest the intellectual movement of his time, he knew the ideas of contemporary thinkers and reflects many of these projects, but we should not think that always accepts them: Nor should we think that the works of Euripides was a kind of "ideological manifestos" which aimed to propagate the ideas of sophistication in public.

The aim of Euripides was not to raise a certain ideology, but rather to present dramatically with clean and exciting theatrical way, the struggle and collision of different ideas, which saw the spiritual life of his time.

The sophists had a key role in the development of the art of persuasion and many of them taught rhetoric to their students. The sophists were instrumental in the development of the art of persuasion and many of them taught rhetoric to their students. One of his favorite rhetorical exercises sophists were putting their students to argue both sides of an issue, or to argue for and against the same terms. This sophistic exercise reflected the "agon" or formal debate which are very common in the tragedies of Euripides: Usually sayings struggles reasons consciously rhetorical and use many features of Attica rhetoric tricks.

Sometimes people read aloud their speeches before a judge, who will decide who is right eg Hecuba Hecuba and Polymistor speak with judge Agamemnon, in the Trojan Women Hecuba and Helen with Menelaus as a judgein Orestes Orestes and Tyndareus with judge Menelaos. Then the battle grounds have something of the atmosphere of the court, where parties compete with sayings to convince the judges. Favorite theme of Sophistic thought preoccupied Euripides: Euripides dramatized this in the tragedy "Antiope" through a mental conflict between the two brothers, Amphion and Zethos: Amphion supports the theoretical life of contemplation and intellectual creation, the Zethos the practical life of political action.

Another issue raised in several tragedies of Euripides is political power, the limits of strength and power and its relationship to the law-again fundamental questions in political theories of the Sophists. At Phoenician is a formal debate between Eteocles reasons and Polynices on the issue of power. Eteocles appears as an advocate of absolute power; proclaims that he would not hesitate at nothing to gain and maintain power.

His views may reflect contemporary theoretical discussions of the sophists cf. Thrasymachus in Republic and Callicles in Gorgias of Plato, who theoretically defend the law of the fittest and the right of the powerful to dominate and exploit the powerless; similar arguments advanced by the Athenians in their dialogue with Milia in Thucydides' History. In contrast, Jocasta who acts as referee in the game defends equality between citizens and democracy.

The original myth, on which all subsequent works are based, tells the story of Hippolytus, the bastard son of Theseus, king of Athens, and his devotion to Artemis, goddess of the hunt, which angered Aphrodite, goddess of love, due to his resulting neglect of her. Phaedra wrote to him, confessing her love and suggesting he pay homage to Aphrodite with her.

Hippolytus was horrified at the letter and marched into her chamber in anger. Being rejected by him, Phaedra created a scene of molestation and called for help. She then hung herself, leaving a note accusing Hippolytus of sexual crimes. On receiving the note, Theseus ordered Hippolytus banished from Athens and then called upon Poseidon to grant the last of his three wishes by destroying his son. As Hippolytus drove along the shore towards Troezen, a great wave rose up throwing a bull-like monster onto the shore.

The monster chased Hippolytus, causing his horses to stampede, the chariot to crash and Hippolytus to be caught in the reins and dragged along the ground to his death. Artemis then commanded the Troezenians to pay Hippolytus divine honors, and all Troezenian brides to cut off a lock of their hair and dedicate it to him.

But Euripides was more than simply an exploiter of good material.

phaedra and hippolytus relationship

He has been compared with Bernard Shaw; there is the same iconoclasm, the same dramatic genius, the same dedicated revolt. According to ancient records, Euripides wrote two versions of this story, of which it is the second that survives.

Indeed, there is much in the original myth that suggests Hippolytus is in a state of being veiled, in the sense of being blinded to what is happening around him. In dramatic terms, this means that Hippolytus is not the one providing the driving force of the drama. The whole characterization of Hippolytus, indeed, has been designed to be compatible with his eventual status as a god or hero.

He is arrogant, rigid, excessively faultless and his disregard for Aphrodite is even a little shocking. For all his piety and righteousness, he seems incapable of any real human warmth or affection. If ever there were a character due to be knocked off a pedestal, this is he.

And if ever there were a playwright who delighted in knocking things off pedestals, it was Euripides. But if you believe this, you must be idiots.

Therefore, Euripides must draw upon Phaedra and Theseus to fill out the requisite elements of a classical tragic drama. Happily, they offer at least as much material as Hippolytus since they, too, suffer from unnatural and misdirected passions. Hippolytus has an unnatural passion against women and sexual love, Phaedra has an unnatural passion for her stepson and Theseus succumbs to an unnatural passion to destroy his own son. In this regard, all three characters are equal, but each serves a different function in the story.

Phaedra nobly sacrifices her own life to save her husband and children from shame. In fact, it threatens to derail the whole drama until we learn that in her passing she has falsely accused Hippolytus. Theseus takes the part of persecutor and Hippolytus is unjustly sentenced to death. Now the playwright has the problem that the story of a victim being sent to his demise is also not dramatically interesting, unless we have a moment of redemption, transcendence or newly gained awareness.

But, again, this is not going to happen to Hippolytus, who must remain morally uncompromised for his hero status. This is where Theseus serves his dramatic function, in his recognition of the mistake he made in condemning his own son without a fair hearing.

It is the actions of Theseus that bring the drama to its highest state of tension, which is then released in resolution. We see him viciously act out the mistakes we know he will regret, and then tragically confront the truth of his errors. All this occurring as the background to a literal, and therefore ironic, depiction of how Hippolytus came to be revered as a cult figure.

The nurse's good intentions It has also been told that Phaedra, who until then had just gazed upon him from a certain hidden spot when he practised his exercises, hanged herself when her passion was made public. The image summarizes the passions playing upon the characters: The gossipy nurse is behind her.

phaedra and hippolytus relationship

For marriage, he believed, consists in supporting a stranger, who usually squanders the family fortune, spending in gowns and other beautiful things that she heaps on her hatefulness. And the more clever the woman, the worse, he thought; for according to him, the sexual urge breeds wickedness more readily in clever women. But when Phaedra learned about her nurse's adventures, the least she said was: And when the nurse attempted to explain herself If I had succeeded, everyone would have reckoned me a wise woman.

They call it wisdom when we happen to guess right. You gave me bad advice before and wicked help. Out of my sight!