Customer Reviews

10
Phaedra
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$11.04+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This year I am using Jean Racine's "Phaedra" as the one non-classical text in my Classical Greek and Roman Mythology Class (yes, I know, "Classical" makes "Greek and Roman" redundant, but it was not my title). In Greek mythology, Phaedra was the half-sister of the Minotaur who was married to Theseus after the hero abandoned her sister Ariadne (albeit, according to some versions of what happened in Crete). Phaedra fell in love with her step-son Hippolytus, who refused her advances. Humiliated, she falsely accused him of having raped her.
My students read "Phaedra" after Euripides's "Hippolytus" as part of an analogy criticism assignment, in which they compare/contrast the two versions, which are decidedly different, to say the least. In the "original" Greek version Hippolytus is a follower of Artemis, and the jealous Aphrodite causes his stepmother to fall in love with him. Phaedra accuses Hippolytus of rape and then hangs herself; Theseus banished his son who is killed before Artemis arrives to tell the truth. In Racine's version Hippolytus is a famous hater of women who falls in love with Aricia, a princess of the blood line of Athens. When false word comes that Theseus is dead, Phaedra moves to put her own son on the throne. In the end the same characters end up dead, but the motivations and other key elements are different.
While I personally would not go so far as to try and argue how Racine's neo-classical version represents the France of 1677, I have found that comparing and contrasting the two versions compels students to think about the choices each dramatist has made. Both the similarities and the differences between "Hippolytus" and "Phaedra" are significant enough to facilitate this effort. Note: Other dramatic versions of this myth include Seneca's play "Phaedra," "Fedra" by Gabriele D'Annunzio, "Thesee" by Andrea Gide, and "The Cretan Woman" by Robinson Jeffers.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is arguably Racine's best known play. It is based on an earlier version of the play by Euripides. It is written at a relatively late period in Racine's career when he was moving back toward Jansensim and a fully religious life. The play is considered the most perfect French example of a tragedy written according to the classic rules. The story is one of illicit passion and its price. One strange idea of Racine was that the 'gods' forced people to sin, and then punished them for this. This cruelty of the gods somehow suits the whole tenor of Racine's work which has a certain fierce kind of cruelty in it. Phaedra the second wife of the king Theseus falls passionately in love with Theseus' son Hippolytus. Hippolytus who supposedly hates woman is in fact secretly in love with Arcis. Upon receiving a message that Theseus has died Phaedra contain contain her passion and confesses her love to a horrified Hippolytus. Then it is revealed that the message of Theseus dead like Mark Twain's has been premature. Theseus returns and urged on by her wicked servant Oenone Phaedra indicates that Hippolytus has attempted to seduce her. Outraged Theseus orders that his son be executed. Phaedra upon learning this thinks to confess, but then learns that Hippolytus is not indifferent women as he has pretended to her but in fact loves Arcis. In a fit of jealousy she allows Theseus to carry out the execution. Upon learning of Hippolytus death, she commits suicide.

The virtous Phaedra who worked so hard to overcome her passion for Hippolytus has been defeated by that passion. The passion, the sinful nature of the human heart has ruthlessly brought to the tragic death of the innocence. This is the harsh and bleak world of Racine's tragedy, the cruel world in which sinner and innocent alike go to their doom.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 14, 2003
The play is a good one. Racine manages to make a classical tragedy very real and very resonant (to 17th Century France and to us.) Many translators have tried their hand at it recently, including Ted Hughes.

I'm a big fan of Richard Wilbur's translations of Moliere, so I thought I'd give this one a try. Wilbur manages to reproduce the rhyme and metrical scheme of the original, but compared to his other translations, this one is pretty dead. Where you expect high-flying rhetoric, Wilbur never modulates out of his fusty base tone. The original play is devoid of comedy, which is a shame, since Wilbur is so good at it.

The bottom line is that this translation is quite readable, if not perhaps definitive. Those with access to a library might want to compare all the new translations and see which one suits them best. Fans of Wilbur are advised to stick to his Molieres.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2014
Racine pursues the ability to sin in the heart and not in the flesh. He wraps it all in the tortuous history of the Royal House of Thebes. Displays a joy to anyone who loves both of theology and the mythology of ancient Greece. The play transforms this theology into premodern terms. Post-reformation conscience and the basis for religious wars are now hidden within the now classic Theseus myth.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2014
This product was clearly print-on-demand, but there was no attention to detail involved in the process. The margins make it so that a word might bleed over into the next line, which looks silly, and sometimes names will be on one page and lines on the next.
I wish I had bought another edition, because this one is honestly an embarrassment to publishing.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2013
I like that it's rhymed. The blank or free verse translations of the poems that are rhymed in the original may be closer to the content, but, as Housman said:"Poetry is not the thing said but a way of saying it."
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on December 9, 2013
Exactly what I needed for class and didn't break the bank. Not a book I would normally buy but shipping was great and book in good condition.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on October 6, 2014
On time & as expected.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2005
Wilbur's translation of Phaedra is excellent, and I would highly recommend it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2005
"Phaedra" has very good suspense, and the language really flowed well. All the grave sins upon which disaster builds are basically sins of the mind only - no incest ever really took place. And Hippolytus was only Phaedra's stepson. Much ado about nothing.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
Iphigenia; Phaedra; Athaliah (Penguin Classics)
Iphigenia; Phaedra; Athaliah (Penguin Classics) by Jean Racine (Paperback - February 28, 1964)
$13.49

Tartuffe, by Moliere
Tartuffe, by Moliere by Richard Wilbur (Paperback - January 10, 1992)
$10.18

The Misanthrope and Tartuffe
The Misanthrope and Tartuffe by Richard Wilbur (Paperback - October 20, 1965)
$10.98
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.