Euripides works with a common story pattern – a young man (Hippolytus) becomes the object of a married woman’s (Phaedra’s) desire, rebuffs her sexual overtures, and is then falsely accused to the woman’s husband (Theseus, Hippolytus’ father) of rape. To this familiar tale Euripides adds the story of divine vengeance – Aphrodite has brought about this passion in Phaedra in order to punish Hippolytus for condemning her and neglecting her realm of sex and marriage. The play explores the themes of passion and moderation, speech and silence, honour and shame, and the relationship between gods and mortals. This play holds a particular place in Euripidean studies, not only because of its acknowledged excellence and influence, but also because it allows the unique opportunity to observe the playwright’s ‘rewriting’ of his earlier play on the same mythological topic, remarkably replacing the brazen Phaedra of earlier legend and previous treatments with a virtuous woman. Greek text with facing-page English translation, introduction and commentary.
Edition of Euripides’ Hippolytus . Greek text, with facing-page English translation, introduction and commentary.
Michael R. Halleran is Professor of Classical Studies and Provost at the College of William & Mary, Williamsburg. He is author of Stagecraft in Euripides (1985) and numerous articles, translations and commentaries on Greek literature and culture.