critically annalyse the chracter of phaedra? in the play phaedra
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Phaedra might be considered an heir to the tradition of scheming, wicked women in Greek mythology, chief among them Medea, who is frequently referred to in Seneca’s play. Yet, she is undeniably presented as an empathetic character, more victim than victimizer. If anything, it is her nurse who receives the brunt of the play’s blame, for it is she, despite her age and perceived wisdom, who first hatches the plan to accuse Hippolytus of raping his stepmother. That said, to view Phaedra as a story about innocent men deceived and attacked by women, is simplistic at best. Theseus succumbs to a passion far more destructive than Phaedra’s – the passion for revenge, the desire to kill. Without stopping to think, he calls on Neptune to kill his own stepson. At the play’s close, Phaedra condemns him for his “harshness” – the same harshness that led him, we learn, to kill his former wife, Antiope, Hippolytus’ mother. Villainy runs across the sexes.