Hippolytus Notes


The Prologue:

·       Explosive prologue

·       The Goddess Cypris appears and makes her intentions clear

·       Euripides’ prologues were satirised y Aristophanes in Frogs for beginning always in the same way

·       Bacchi begins with the god Dionysus appearing – absolutely terrifying manifestations of the gods as they say they will get people who scorn them

·       Human figures from epic and myth, as well as ordinary people like Medea beginning with a slave, are also in Euripidean prologues

·       In Electra, it begins with a humble farmer

·       When a God comes on and announces themselves terrifying, something terrible and unusual is happening

·       Cypris tells us vital information about the play: that Hippolytus is the son by marriage with the amazon Hippolyta and Theseus, and that Phaedra has fallen in love with Hippolytus, this is the agent of the goddess of love

·       Hippolytus is keen on the goddess of hunting Artemis, and he worships and devotes his life to her

·       He spends his whole time riding on the beach, in sporting activities, but mainly hunting in the woods and worshipping Artemis

·       Cypris isn’t offended that he is worshipping another goddess, she is offended that he is slagging her off and calling her the worst goddess

·       After the proglogue, we can see this as Hippolytus has a lovely song of praise for Artemis, and then one of his servants urges him to try to serve respect to Cypris

·       Artemis appears at the end of the play

·       Conflict between Cypris and Artemis is further shown by the likelihood that there were images of the both of them at the back of the stage

·       The servant pleads with Hippolytus to show respect to Cypris, he tries t begin with to take a moderate position but in the end he finds himself saying he will not worship Cypris (no goddess whose worship by night is going to find favour with him) and he goes into the house leaving this vital piece of worship unfulfilled

·       Therefore, one can see at the start why the goddess is so angry and divine anger is something to be truly terrified of

·       The servant who tried to persuade Hippolytus has a little prayer to Cypris and says please don’t take it out on him, gods should be wiser than mortals, but to a Euripidean god (especially an angry one) this is not a sensible thing to say and in Bacchi, Cadmus (king of Thebes) says to the god Bacchus/Dionysus that gods should be better able to cope with their anger than humans, but this is not the case as gods have human emotions that pushes them further than humans

·       Love that Phaedra has for Hippolytus has been caused by Cypris, as she wants to destroy Hippolytus, using a love affair or the threat of one between Theseus’ stepson and


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