The plot of Hippolytus (428 B.C., first prize) concerns the punishment by the goddess Aphrodite of Theseus’ illegitimate son Hippolytus, a young man who is the favored companion of Artemis. Hippolytus has angered the goddess of love by his determined chastity, and the goddess announces at the play’s beginning that she will bring about his death on this very day. Her only direct intervention occurred some time before: she caused his stepmother Phaedra to fall in love with him during the young man’s visit to Athens. The rest of her scheme involves independent decisions by Phaedra, Phaedra’s Nurse, Hippolytus, and Theseus, each decision arising predictably out of the character of each person. Aphrodite tells us that Theseus w…

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Citation: Kovacs, David. "Hippolytus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 August 2010 [, accessed 24 September 2023.]

13368 Hippolytus 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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