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Phaedra Live Performance Analytical Critique Essay

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Phaedra Live Performance Analytical Critique
Last Thursday at the State Playhouse at California State University Los Angeles, Dr. James A. Hatfield directed the play Phaedra written by Jean Racine, first performed in 1677. The leading characters are Theseus, Phaedra, Hippolytus, Aricia, Oenone, Theramenes, Ismene, and Panope. The play depicts the lust that Phaedra has toward her stepson Hippolytus and the tragedy that her desire for him causes, which is the death of Hippolytus, Oenone, and even her own life. The way the actors interpreted the play through their own roles was that some of the actors were able to successfully portray the characters they are supposed to be.
The main theme in the play Phaedra is how the lust Phaedra felt for her stepson lead to tragedy in the end. Phaedra has a deep passion for her stepson, Hippolytus. She has tried terribly to stop her lust for him, even when she banishes him her lust towards him still burns strong. Her mind is occupied with the thoughts of him. She then blames Venus, the goddess of love, for her troubles. Phaedra claims that Venus has tainted her with a passion she cannot contain. When Oenone encourages her to proclaim her love to Hippolytus now that the king is dead she does so and it turns out that the king is actually alive, she blames Oenone for her misfortune. However, Oneone tells Phaedra to tell the king that Hippolytus has been the one who is in love with her. The tragedy that Phaedra has with herself caused tragedy among others as well. If she would have not listened to Oenone and been honest with her husband maybe the king, Theseus would of have not put a curse on his son causing his death, Oenone would not have died and Phaedra herself may have not died as well. The a...


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...ie than to live in dishonor, but once she finds out that her husband may be dead, she confesses her love to Hippolytus, but he rejects her. Once her husband finds out what has been happening between his son and wife, Phaedra lies about the circumstances, therefore, Theseus curses his son. Phaedra is proven selfish because she rather put the blame on someone she claimed to love and as well, as blame Oenone. Her selfishness causes the death of Oenone, Hippolytus, and her life as well. She also left Aricia without her love and Theseus without a son and a wife. In the end, Phaedra’s desire led to her own demise. As John Webster says, “Whether we fall by ambition, blood, or lust, like diamonds we are cut with our own dust.”




Works Cited
"John Webster." BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2013. 26 November 2013. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnwebste385757.html


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