Discuss the Presentation of Phaedra and Nurse in Hippolytus. How Sympathetically Does Euripides Present These Characters? Essay

968 WordsFeb 13, 20144 Pages
Class Civ Discuss the presentation of Phaedra and nurse in Hippolytus. How sympathetically does Euripides present these characters? Euripides presents the characters of Phaedra and Nurse in Hippolytus as two ends on a moral spectrum; Nurse having a pragmatic approach to the tragedy orchestrated by Cypris while Phaedra takes the idealistic view. It’s Phaedra’s idealistic morals which make her such an interesting comparison to Hippolytus as they both conceive themselves and are portrayed as virtuous people, yet the contrast is their different perceptions of being virtuous. Yet sympathy wise Phaedra attracts a lot more sympathy than Nurse as Euripides portrays as the start of the play how these events are completely out of mortal control yet the characters reactions to them isn’t. Therefore when Phaedra starves herself we, the audience, feel sympathy as she is feeling unwanted passion for Hippolytus that she can’t control. So the only way for it to end in her eyes is to die or later on do the deed: “One dear to me destroys me. It is not what ether of us wishes”. The blame for these events could be placed upon Cypris yet when reading the play Euripides uses the gods yet paints them to be cruel and petty. The reason for Cypris’ plot in the first place is because he “spurns sex and keeps clear of marriage” and converts her sister, which could be considered petty and jealous actions when the Gods are meant to be higher than mortals. This could be Euripides having a silent jab at the Gods existence as he wouldn’t have been able to do it openly because of the very strong religious beliefs in the ancient world. On the other hand he could be exploring human nature using the Gods as a medium for expressing how power overwhelming passion is for Phaedra that the only escape she feels is death and then later on Theseus’ grief over Phaedra makes him theoretically kill

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