Hippolytus | Study Guide

Euripides

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Hippolytus Study Guide." Course Hero. 15 Mar. 2019. Web. 5 Aug. 2020. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Hippolytus/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2019, March 15). Hippolytus Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved August 5, 2020, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Hippolytus/

In text

(Course Hero, 2019)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Hippolytus Study Guide." March 15, 2019. Accessed August 5, 2020. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Hippolytus/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "Hippolytus Study Guide," March 15, 2019, accessed August 5, 2020, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Hippolytus/.

Hippolytus | Character Analysis

Share
Share

Hippolytus

Hippolytus is the son of Theseus and an Amazon queen (unnamed in the text, but other sources call her either Hipployte or Antiope). Devoted to the goddess Artemis, he chooses to lead a life of purity. His refusal of Aphrodite—a goddess he says is impure—has angered the goddess. After Theseus banishes Hippolytus for raping his stepmother Phaedra, a crime he didn't commit, he is nearly killed by the god Poseidon. As he lies dying, Hippolytus learns that the events were Aphrodite's doing and forgives his father before passing.

Theseus

The Greek hero Theseus is the son of Aethra. His father is either Aegeus, king of Athens, or the sea god Poseidon. Theseus becomes distraught over the death of his wife Phaedra, who has accused Hippolytus, her stepson, of rape. The king banishes his son without trial and asks Poseidon to kill Hippolytus. When his son is near death, the goddess Artemis reveals the curse Aphrodite has laid on his house and explains that Phaedra lied. All Theseus can do is apologize to his dying son.

Phaedra

Phaedra is the victim of Aphrodite's vengeful plan against Hippolytus. She is ill over her feelings for her stepson. Despite efforts to fight her feelings and keep them secret, she confesses it to the nurse, whose plan to deal with the problem fails. Hippolytus's anger upon learning of Phaedra's feelings spurs the queen to advance Aphrodite's vengeance. Phaedra hangs herself to save her reputation and leaves a note accusing her stepson of raping her.

Nurse

Worried about the queen, the nurse badgers Phaedra to reveal the cause of her distress. Phaedra relents and tells the nurse about her love for Hippolytus. The nurse understands how devastating this could be to the kingdom and herself. Sensing that this is the work of the goddess Aphrodite, she advises the queen to tell the truth, but Phaedra refuses. The nurse reveals the secret to Hippolytus in attempt to remedy the situation. Her actions set off tragic events: the deaths of Phaedra and Hippolytus.

Aphrodite

Aphrodite is the daughter of Zeus and Dione. She is the Greek goddess of beauty, love, and fertility. Hippolytus's arrogant disdain for her and his worship of Artemis, one of the few gods who can resist Aphrodite's charm, has upset Aphrodite. She plots vengeance on Hippolytus by cursing his stepmother Phaedra to fall in love with him. Aphrodite knows that her plot will result in both Phaedra's and Hippolytus's death and boasts at how little she will have had to do to bring tragedy to Theseus's kingdom.

Artemis

Artemis is the goddess that Hippolytus, a celebrated hunter, most reveres. She was a favored goddess among people who lived in rural areas. She visits Theseus's house to reveal to the king Aphrodite's vengeful plot and the false accusation of rape made by Phaedra against Hippolytus. And while Hippolytus lays on his deathbed, Artemis urges him to forgive Theseus, and he obeys.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Hippolytus? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!

Stuck? We have tutors online 24/7 who can help you get unstuck.
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors You can ask You can ask You can ask (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes