Background and Preliminaries
Aegeus/Poseidon - [Aethra]
Minos - Pasiphae Theseus - Antiope (Amazon)
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Ariadne Phaedra Hippolytus
Artemis (= Roman Diana). A virgin goddess, associated with the hunt, chastity, and childbirth (!)
Attributes: bow, fawn (or doe or stag); often appears with her brother, Apollo; usually a short dress (chiton) and a girl's hairstyle
Artemis, the maiden-who-is-desired-but-cannot-be-touched
Similarly there are two sides to her virginal (lack of) sexuality. Not, like Athena, a lack of sexuality: peculiarly erotic, and challenging in the erotic allure. The inviolate and inviolable virgin, usually accompanied (as in the story of Actaeon) by a swarm of equally enticing nymphs. But the appearance of Artemis' nymphs is strangely bound up in myth with rape: Zeus and Callisto, Theseus and Helen.
The image of the "Pure Virgin" is unstable: no sanctity here, but rather that destabilizing eroticism tied up with virgin girls of marriageable age. "Nymph": cf. Greek nymphe =
Aphrodite. (= Roman Venus; sometimes called Cytherea or Cypris).
Attributes: in early art, usually clothed and often impossible to distinguish from Hera or other goddesses, unless there is an inscription; from the 4th century onward, usually nude (after Praxiteles); sometimes pictured with a sceptre or a mirror; often accompanied by Eros (=Roman Cupid) or several Erotes (Cupids); sometimes accompanied by a goose or swan.
Aphrodite, the woman-who-is-desired-and-CAN-be-touched (cf. Artemis), the woman-who-is-not-the-wife (cf. Hera), woman-as-destabilizing-force (cf. Athena)
Near Eastern antecedents: Ishtar (goddess of love & war), also called Inanna and Astarte. Ritual prostitution. Sexuality, despite later representations, not solely feminine: bearded Aphrodite/Ishtar, male Aphroditos/Astar.
But as Aphrodite develops in Greek culture, clearly she is conceived as a contrast to Artemis.
Hippolytus: a man with a veritable hubris of virginity (!)
Hippolytus' first entrance: 58ff
a song: an ode to Artemis, the patron goddess of young maidens and new brides (!) but also Hipp's own patroness a chorus of virginmen like the chorus of virgin nymphs that accompany Artemis he deflowers the "inviolate meadow" no one else, only he, may pluck and gather the flowers in the "inviolate meadow" of Artemis! Hipp. has a passion for his patron deity, Artemis and virginity which is, to say the least, paradoxical a veritable hubris of virginity: no moderation in this behavior! Hippolytus develops over time: from a strangely priggish, sex-obsessed youth, to a high falutin' snobbish youth, to a pathetic but dignified tragic victim Look at how he changes from that first entrance, to the second entrace at 601ff, to the agon with his father at, esp., 948ff + 983ff (where Hippolytus is clearly revealed as a snob, an effete, a vegetarian for godssake!), to the final tragic scene of his death at 1348ff (where pathos reigns, and he assumes real dignity in his suffering)
What is the moral basis for action for each of the characters in the play?
Euripides and belief in the gods