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Euripides, Hippolytus 732–75

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Chapter Summary

This chapter talks about one of the plays of Euripides: Hippolytus. It deals specifically with the lines 732-75 of the play. The centrally-placed Second Stasimon of Hippolytus, following Phaedra's exit (to die) at 731, is one of the finest features of Euripides' finest play, with complex imagery. The wish to become a bird and to fly away to a mythical Western paradise is in line with a familiar topos as an 'out-of-this-world escape wish'. 'Bird-transformation' and 'flight to the far West' are funereal motifs, notably developed by Sophocles. Then in the second pair of stanzas Phaedra's fate is integrally linked with the 'white-winged Cretan ship' that as a doubly bad ὄρνιϲ brought her 'through beating seawaves' from Crete to Athens, with 'fastening of ropes' for the 'going ashore' at the end of the voyage.

Keywords: Hippolytus 732-75; Athens; bird-transformation; Crete; Euripides; mythical Western paradise; Phaedra; Sophocles



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