The Greeks Vs Their Gods In Hippolytus

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The Greeks Vs. Their Gods In Hippolytus Essay, Research Paper The Greeks vs. Their Gods in Hippolytus The play Hippolytus by the Greek playwright Euripides is one which explores classical Greek religion. Throughout the play, the influence of the gods on the actions of the characters is evident, especially when Aphrodite affects the actions of Phaedra. Also central to the plot is the god-god interactions between Artemis and Aphrodite. In this essay, I hope to provide answers to how the actions of Hippolytus and Phaedra relate to the gods, whether or not the characters concern themselves with the reaction of the gods to their behavior, what the characters expect from the gods, how the gods treat the humans, and whether or not the gods gain anything from making the humans

suffer. Before we can discuss the play, however, a few terms need to be defined. Most important would be the nature of the gods. They have divine powers, but what exactly makes the Greek gods unique should be explored. The Greek gods, since they are anthropomorphic, have many of the same characteristics as humans. One characteristic of the gods which is apparent is jealousy. Aphrodite seems to be jealous of Artemis because Hippolytus worships Artemis as the greatest of all gods, while he tends to shy away from worshipping Aphrodite (10-16). This is important because it sets in motion the actions of the play when Aphrodite decides to get revenge on Hippolytus. The divine relationship between the gods is a bit different, however. Over the course of the play, Artemis does not

interfere in the actions of Aphrodite, which shows that the gods, while divine, do have restrictions; in this case, it shows the gods cannot interfere with each other. (1328-1330) The gods are sometimes evil and revengeful, though, as can seen by what Artemis has to say about Aphrodite: “I?ll wait till she loves a mortal next time, and with this hand – with these unerring arrows I?ll punish him.” (1420-1422) The relationship of mankind and the gods also needs to be discussed. This relationship seems to be a sort of give-and-take relationship, in part. The Greeks believed that if they gave to the gods, through prayer and sacrifices, that the gods would help them out. This is especially true of Hippolytus and his almost excessive worship of Artemis. Also, Theseus praying to

his father Poseidon is another example of this, only Theseus actually gets what he prays for. (887-890) Just because mankind worshipped the gods, however did not mean that the gods had any sort of obligation to help out the humans. Artemis did nothing to protect Hippolytus from being killed. But not all relations between the gods and mankind were positive from the humans? standpoint. Since Aphrodite is angry with Hippolytus for not worshipping her, she decides to punish him by making Phaedra love him, then making it seem that he rapes her, when she actually hangs herself, whether that is through her own actions or is the doing of Aphrodite. The thoughts and actions of Hippolytus and Phaedra certainly are irrational at times. After all, a stepmother falling in love with her

stepson is unlikely, but probably even less acceptable. This is directly related to the gods. What Aphrodite does to Phaedra certainly causes her to do some strange things. For instance, first Phaedra seems to go crazy, and then she decides to hide her new-found love for Hippolytus from the nurse. Later, though, she decides to tell the nurse, and when she finds that the nurse has told Hippolytus, decides that the only logical course of action is to kill herself. This action is certainly related to the gods because Aphrodite makes it look as if Phaedra?s suicide is really the fault of Hippolytus. Some of Hippolytus? actions are related to the gods as well. When Theseus discovers that Phaedra is dead and decides to exile Hippolytus, Hippolytus does object to his banishment, but