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Phaedra (phaedrax.gif--200x339) Hippolytus (phaedray.jpg--287x339)

Japanese version (japanv.gif--100x36)
May 30, 2003

Please click me to see some books about Phaedra.
Phaedra was the daughter of King Minos of Crete and his wife Pasiphae. She was therefore the sister of Ariadne. Interestingly, both Phaedra and Ariadne were involved with the same man—the hero Theseus. For, some time after Theseus abandoned Ariadne, he married Ariadne’s younger sister.

Unfortunately, neither of the sisters had a successful relationship with Theseus. Phaedra had the misfortune of falling in love with Hippolytus—the handsome but chaste son of Theseus and the Amazon Hippolyta. Even though Phaedra was Hippolytus’s mother-in-law, this did not prevent her from desiring the young man.


Phaedra reveals her heart to hippolytus (phaedra19.jpg--371x520)

In the play Hippolytus composed by Euripides, the great Greek poet and dramatist, the goddess Aphrodite claims responsibility for making Phaedra the victim of lust. Aphrodite speaks in the prologue:

“Phaedra saw him [Hippolytus]
and her heart was filled with the longings of love.
This was my work.”

As much as Phaedra desires the young man, Hippolytus wants nothing to do with his mother-in-law. Naturally, this doomed relationship is the stuff of tragedy. In the play, Phaedra commits suicide, shamed by her inappropriate—and unreciprocated—passion.

However, she leaves a note that blames Hippolytus on the grounds of attempted seduction. When Theseus returns from one of his many journeys, he finds his wife dead, and his son apparently is the cause of her demise. In the end, Hippolytus too is killed.


Phaedra rejects embrace from Theseus (phaedra98.jpg--300x370)

Returning home from one of his frequent journeys, Theseus reached out to greet his wife, Phaedra, who shied away from his embrace. Surprised by this cold reception, Theseus looked inquiringly at his son Hippolytus.

During his absence, Phaedra had fallen in love with her stepson, and could hardly meet her husband’s eyes.
      ’Unworthy of your praise and unable to approach you,” said Phaedra, “I must not from now on think of hiding.”
      Theseus then turned to Hippolytus, asking, “What is this strange welcome that you give your father, my son?"
      Hippolytus replied, "Only Phaedra can explain the mystery.”


Phaedra accuses Hippolytus of seduction before Theseus (phaedra99.jpg--371x270)

      Infuriated by his rejection and humiliation, Phaedra appealed to Theseus, accusing Hippolytus of raping his step-mother.
      Theseus summoned his son, who told his father what happened between both of them. His father, however, refused to believe his son’s insistence on innocence.
      “Father, can’t you believe the words of your own son?” Hippolytus gazed at Theseus.
      Both eyes met like a duel.
      “Son, Phaedra has been faithful all these years. If you insist on her wickedness, tell me why she suddenly changed into an unfaithful wife.”
      “I don’t know, sir, but I’ve never raped any woman in my life.”
      “Haven’t you ever desired any woman at all?”
      “Well … yes, I have, but desiring a woman is totally different from raping her.”
      “Regardlessly, you enjoyed watching the nude of your step-mother, and you admitted it.”
      “Yes, but I didn’t have any other choice but to watch her in the nude.”
      “Son, I’ll tell you what. You’re young, and young men make some blunders—sometimes serious mistakes, but they can start their life from scratch, all over again. A woman like Phaedra, on the other hand, would never have a second chance. Once branded wicked, her life is over. You know what I mean?”
      “Sir, are you saying I should take the blame even if I haven’t done any wrongdoing?”
      “Phaedra accused you, and I have to take some action on it. If I banish her on the account of her disgraceful conduct, her sons in Athens will suffer for the rest of their lives. Phaedra has been a faithful wife and good mother. To tell you the truth, I still love her, and I know you didn’t rape her, but I want you to stay away from Troezen for some time. Understand?”
      Eventually, Hippolytus agreed with his father, who banished his own son instantly. The lad mounted his chariot drawn by fine horses that he’d trained and bred himself. Before he set out, the hapless prince turned back to see the palace for the last time. He saw Phaedra, who stood on the wall, watching him like a frozen figure. He couldn’t see her eyes but sensed that tears of remorse wet her cheeks.

The above narration is not the official one—if there is one. I’ve interpreted the myth my own way.

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Hippolytus was not chaste but homosexual, I suppose.
    - John

Well, that’s a quite insight. As far as I know, no critics have ever suggested that he was. Maybe he was, but I’d rather stick to the traditional heterosexual scheme, which makes the whole story more complicated and interesting.
    - Akira
Copyright Akira Kato
About this author:
  • Educated both in Canada and Japan
  • Traveled extensively in Europe, Far East, and North America
  • Worked as management consultant, computer systems analyst, college instructor and freelance writer.
Akira Kato


Books on Sale

Erotica Odyssey Book title (erosttls.jpg--255x360) This historical erotica of eleven stories discloses the titillating eroctic renditions of the ancient events and mysteries—from the sensual rituals of Minoan Parisienne, the love affairs of Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut, the harem conspiracy during the Akhenaten’s reign, to the romantic lessons that Hittite Prince Tudhalias learned from Lady Rapshelia.

Erotica Odyssey Book 2 title (eros2tts.jpg--240x292) This historical erotica of ten stories discloses the titillating eroctic renditions of the ancient events and mysteries—from the sensual encounter of Theseus and an Amazon warrior, the ravish of Ariadne, the sizzling lovemaking of Achilles and Penthesileia, the love affairs of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus, the secret love of Princess Electra, Helen's rapturous life with Paris, to the romantic lessons that Odysseus learned from Egyptian courtesan.


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