CL106/EN106 Week 11:

 

1. Euripides, Hippolytus:

 

Note: Theseus, king of Athens, had sent his illegitimate son Hippolytus (his mother was one of the Amazons) to the court of king Pitteus of Troezen, a dependency of Athens, intending that his son would succeed Pitteus at the latter's death. In our play Theseus visits Troezen with Phaedra, his legitimate wife, daughter of Minos, king of Cnossos on the island of Crete, and PasiphaŽ (who also the mother of the Minotaur).

 

a. How is Phaedra like Hippolytus?

b. Why does Phaedra lie about Hippolytus?

c. In what sense does Phaedra get what she deserves? In what sense is she an innocent victim?

d. In what sense does Hippolytus get what he deserves? In what sense is he an innocent victim?

e. In what sense does Theseus get what he deserves? In what sense is he an innocent victim?

f. How real are the goddesses Aphrodite and Artemis in this play? If they are only (or also) devices for representing something else, what does each represent?

g. Whose tragedy is it anyway?

 

 

2. Euripides, Trojan Women:

 

a. Who (if anyone) is the central character of this play?

b. Compare and contrast the women in this play. How are they all the same? How are they different from each other?

c. Is there a plot to this play? Or is it just a series of scenes of woe that could be rearranged in a different order with no meaningful effect on the play as a whole?

d. Whether the play has a plot or not, what is the role of the opening scene between Poseidon and Athena in terms of the play as a whole?

e. Whether the play has a plot or not, what is the role of the Helen scene in terms of the play as a whole?

f. There are numerous references to the physical city of Troy, its walls, etc. How do these fit into the play as a whole?

g. Compare and contrast this play with Sophocles' Antigone. In what ways are they different? In what ways are they the same?

h. What is Euripides' attitude toward the events he portrays on stage? How can you tell?

i. This play was produced in 415, the year the Athenians captured Melos, killed all its men, and enslaved the women and children. Does knowing this affect your reading of this play? how?