Phaedra by Seneca : The major characters in Seneca’s “Phaedra”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, also known simply as Seneca, was a Roman philosopher, statesman, and playwright who lived from 4 BCE to 65 CE. He was a prominent figure during the Roman Empire and served as a tutor and advisor to Emperor Nero. Seneca is known for his philosophical works, including letters on ethics, Stoic philosophy, and tragedy. He wrote several plays, including “Medea” and “Phaedra,” which explore themes of revenge, passion, and morality. Seneca’s works have had a significant impact on Western philosophy and literature, and his ideas continue to be studied and debated to this day.
“Phaedra” is a play written by the ancient Roman philosopher and playwright, Seneca. The play is a tragedy that tells the story of Phaedra, the wife of the Greek king Theseus. Phaedra becomes consumed with desire for her stepson, Hippolytus, and confesses her love to him. Hippolytus rejects her advances and Phaedra becomes desperate, fearing that her secret will be exposed.
Phaedra’s nurse, Oenone, suggests that she falsely accuse Hippolytus of rape, which Phaedra does. Theseus, upon hearing the accusation, banishes Hippolytus and invokes the god of the sea, Neptune, to curse him. Hippolytus is subsequently killed in a chariot accident caused by a sea monster.
When Phaedra learns of Hippolytus’ death, she confesses her deception to Theseus and then takes her own life. Theseus is left devastated by the loss of his son and his wife. The play explores themes of desire, deception, and tragedy.
Seneca’s “Phaedra” has had a significant influence on Western literature and has been adapted by many playwrights and authors throughout the centuries, including Jean Racine and Sarah Kane. The play continues to be studied and performed today, and is considered a masterpiece of ancient Roman literature.
The major characters in Seneca’s “Phaedra” include:
1. Phaedra – The wife of Theseus and stepmother to Hippolytus. She becomes consumed with desire for Hippolytus and falsely accuses him of rape when he rejects her advances.
2. Hippolytus – The son of Theseus and stepson of Phaedra. He rejects Phaedra’s advances and is subsequently banished and cursed by his father.
3. Theseus – The king of Athens and husband of Phaedra. He banishes Hippolytus and curses him after hearing of the false accusation.
4. Oenone – Phaedra’s nurse and confidante. She suggests the idea of falsely accusing Hippolytus to Phaedra.
5. Aricia – A princess who is in love with Hippolytus. She is caught up in the tragic events of the play and ultimately becomes the new queen of Athens after the deaths of Theseus and Phaedra.
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