In ancient Athens, King Theseus rules. Like Hercules, he had two fathers – earthly, the king of Aegeus, and heavenly, the god of Poseidon. His main feat he committed on the island of Crete: he killed in the labyrinth of the monstrous Minotaur and freed Athens from the tribute to him. Assistant to him was the Cretan princess Ariadne: she gave him a thread, following which he left the labyrinth. Ariadne he promised to marry, but Dionysus the god demanded for her, and for this, the goddess of love Aphrodite hated.
The second wife of Theseus was the Amazonian warrior; she died in battle, and Theseus left her son Hippolytus. Son of the Amazon, he was not considered legitimate and was not brought up in Athens, but in the neighboring town of Trezene. Amazons did not want to know men – Ippolit did not want to know women. He called himself a servant of the virgin goddess Artemis, dedicated to the underground sacraments, which the singer Orpheus told people about: a man must
be clean, and then he will find bliss behind the coffin. And for this, the goddess of love Aphrodite also hated him.
The third wife of Theseus was Phaedra, also from Crete, Ariadne’s younger sister. Theseus took her as his wife to have legitimate heir children. And here begins the revenge of Aphrodite. Phaedra saw her stepson Hippolytus and fell in love with him with mortal love. At first she overpowered her passion: Ippolit was not around, he was in Trebin. But it so happened that Theseus killed the rebels against him and had to retire for a year in exile; Together with Fedra, he moved to the same Tresen. Here the stepmother’s love for her stepson flared up again; Phaedra became mad with her, fell ill, went off, and no one could understand what was happening to the queen. Theseus went to the oracle; in his absence, and there was a tragedy.
Actually, Euripides wrote about this two tragedies. The first is not preserved. In her, Phaedra herself opened in love to Ippolit, Hippolytus terrified him, and then Phaedra slandered Hippolytus to Theseus, who had returned to him, as if his stepson fell in
love with her and wanted to dishonor her. Hippolytus perished, but the truth was revealed, and only then did Phaedra decide to commit suicide. It is this story that best remembered the offspring. But he did not like the Athenians: Phaedrus was too shameless and evil. Then Euripides composed a second tragedy about Hippolytus – and it is in front of us.
The tragedy begins with the monologue of Aphrodite: the gods punish the proud, and she will punish the proud Hippolytus, who disdains love. Here it is, Hippolytus, with a song in honor of the virgin Artemis on his lips: he is joyful and does not know that today he will be attacked by a punishment. Aphrodite disappears, Hippolytus leaves with a wreath in his hands and dedicates it to Artemis – “clean from the pure.” “Why do not you honor Aphrodite?” the old slave asks him. “Thank you, but from a distance: the night gods are not to my heart,” Hippolyte answers. He leaves, and the slave prays for him Aphrodite: “Forgive his youthful arrogance: for this you, gods, and wise to forgive.” But Aphrodite will not forgive.
A choir of Trezensk women enters: they heard a rumor that the Queen of Phaedrus is sick and delirious. From what? Wrath of the gods, evil jealousy, bad news? To meet them they carry Phaedra, who rushes on a couch, with her old nurse. Phaedra is delirious: “To the mountains to hunt! To flower Artemidin meadow! To the coastal horse race” – all these are Ippolitovy places. The nurse persuades: “Wake up, open up, regret if not yourself, then children: if you die – they will not reign, but Hippolytus.” Phaedra shudders: “Do not call this name!” Word for word: “cause of illness is love”; “the cause of love is Hippolytus”;
“salvation is one – death.” The nurse is against: “Love is the universal law, to resist love is barren pride, but from every sickness there is a cure.” Phaedra understands this word literally: maybe the nurse knows some healing potion? The nurse goes away; the choir sings: “Oh, yes, Eros blows me!”
Because of the scene – the noise: Phaedra hears the voices of the wet nurse and Hippolytus. No, it was not about the potion, it was about the love of Hippolytus: the nurse opened everything to him – and in vain. Here they go on stage, he is indignant, she is praying for one thing: “Only a word to anyone, you swore!” “My tongue swore, my soul has nothing to do with it,” answers Hippolytus. He pronounces the brutal denunciation of women: “If it were possible to continue without their women, the husband is spent for the wedding, the husband accepts the property, the stupid wife is fat, the intelligent wife is dangerous. I will keep my oath of silence, but I curse you!” He’s leaving; Phaedra, in desperation, branded the nurse: “By damnation, by death, I wanted to be saved from dishonor, now I see that I can not be saved by death from him.” There is one last remedy, “and she leaves without naming him. This means – to blame Hippolytus for the father. The chorus sings: “It’s terrible this world, to run from it, to run!”
Because of the scene – crying: Phaedra in a loop, Phaedra passed away! On the stage – an alarm: is Theseus, he is terrified of the unexpected disaster. The palace swings open, the general crying begins over Phaedra’s body, But why did she commit suicide? In her hand are writing plaques;
Theseus reads them, and his horror – even more. It turns out that Ippolit, a criminal stepson, encroached on her bed, and she, unable to bear dishonor, laid her hands on herself. “Father Poseidon!” Exclaimed Theseus, “you once promised me to fulfill my three wishes,” this is the last of them: punish Hippolytus, let him not survive this day! “
Appears Hippolytus; he is also amazed by the sight of the dead Phaedra, but even more – reproaches, which are brought down on him by his father. “Oh, why we are not allowed to recognize lies by sound!” Theseus cries: “Sons are falser than fathers, and grandchildren are sons, soon there will not be enough room for criminals on earth.” Lies are your holiness, lies are your purity, and behold your accuser. Get out of my sight – go into exile! “-” Gods and people know – I have always been pure; Here is my oath, but I’m silent about other justifications, “Hippolyte answers. “Neither lust tempted me to go to Stephen’s stepmother, nor vanity to Phaedrus the queen.” I see: the wrong from the case came out clean, but clean and really did not save. Execute me if you want. “-” No, death would be your mercy – go into exile! “-” Forgive me, Artemis, forgive me, Throne, forgive me, Athens! you did not have a man purer of heart, than me. “Hippolytus leaves, the choir sings:” Fate is changeable, life is terrible; God forbid me to know the cruel world laws! “
The curse comes true: the messenger comes. Hippolytus in the chariot left Troesen by a path between the rocks and the shore of the sea. “I do not want to live as a criminal,” he pleaded to the gods, “but I want only my father to know that he is wrong, and I’m right, alive or dead.” Here the sea roared, a tree rose above the horizon, a monster emerged from the shaft like a sea bull; The horses jumped and carried, the chariot struck against the rocks, the young man was dragged along the rocks. The dying man is taken back to the palace. “I am his father, and I have been dishonored by him,” Theseus says. “Let him not expect me to feel sympathy or joy.”
And here on the stage is Artemis, goddess Hippolytus. “He’s right, you’re wrong,” she says, “Phaedra was not right, but the evil Aphrodite moved her.” Cry, tsar, I share your sorrow with you. ” On a stretcher they bring in Hippolytus, he groans and begs to finish him off; for whose sins does he pay? Artemis leans over him from the top:
“This is the wrath of Aphrodite, it is she who destroyed Phaedra, and Phaedra Hippolytus, and Hippolytus leaves inconsequential Theseus: three sacrifices, one more unhappy than the other.” Oh, what a pity that the gods do not pay for the fate of people! “There will be sorrow and Aphrodite – she also has a favorite the hunter Adonis, and he will fall from my, Artemidin, arrows, and you, Hippolytus, will have eternal memory in Trezen, and every girl before marriage will sacrifice you a strand of wool. “Ippolit dies forgiving his father;
The choir finishes the tragedy with the words: “There will be streams of tears about it – / If the husband of the great rock is overthrown – / His death is unforgettable forever!”