Although the exact dating of Seneca’s plays is elusive, certain stylistic and metrical reasons point to an early date for his

Phaedra

, possibly the later years of Claudius’ reign. John Fitch [

AJP

102 (1981) 289-307] has claimed that the

Phaedra

belongs to the first group of Seneca’s plays along with the

Agamemnon

and the

Oedipus

. Richard Tarrant has suggested that these three plays (

Phaedra, Agamnenon, Oedipus

) “represent an attempt to treat material conspicuously associated with each of the three canonical Greek tragedians” (1995, 220).

In this tragedy Seneca treats the well-known myth of Phaedra’s love for her stepson Hippolytus. Like his Medea, Seneca’s Phaedra is a study on a family ruined by an uncontrollable passion. The place of the dramatic action is Athens, the

2028 words

Citation: Michalopoulos, Andreas. "Phaedra". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 February 2010 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=13463, accessed 05 March 2024.]

13463 Phaedra 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.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.