Hippolytus

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Artemis Character Analysis

Artemis is the goddess of hunting, and she also represents chastity. Hippolytus has devoted his life to worshipping her, manifest in the crowns of flowers that he makes to adorn her statue onstage. When she finally appears at the end of the play, she confesses that a law among the gods had prevented her from interfering with Aphrodite’s machinations. Still, she vows revenge, and gives establishes a cult in Hippolytus’s honor after his death.

Artemis Quotes in Hippolytus

The Hippolytus quotes below are all either spoken by Artemis or refer to Artemis. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Desire, Sexuality, and Chastity Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Oxford University Press edition of Hippolytus published in 1992.
Lines 1-425 Quotes

I have brought you this green crown,
Goddess, fresh from the scene
Where I spliced its flowers together,
A meadow as virginal as you are…

Related Characters: Hippolytus (speaker), Artemis
Related Symbols: Crown of Flowers, Statues of Artemis and Aphrodite
Page Number: 112-115
Explanation and Analysis:

Here, Hippolytus enters the stage for the first time and approaches the statue of Artemis. Out of admiration for the goddess, Hippolytus adorns her statue with a crown of flowers he's taken from a meadow he considers "virginal." This reveals how Hippolytus views Artemis as pure, whole, and representative of chastity, as opposed to Aphrodite, whose association with sexuality and erotic desire he refuses to revere. The crown of flowers also shows the importance of offering material favors to the gods--they are integral to the act of worshipping the gods and maintaining good standing with them, thus avoiding punishment for hubris (pride or arrogance). Hippolytus leaves Aphrodite's statue bare, and this upsets her--only sealing Hippolytus's fate.

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Lines 1369-1727 Quotes

Daughter of Leto, you who were
Closest to me, my friend, my hunting partner,
Now I will go in exile
From radiant Athens.
I say goodbye to my city…

Related Characters: Hippolytus (speaker), Artemis
Related Symbols: Statues of Artemis and Aphrodite
Page Number: 1710-1713
Explanation and Analysis:

Hippolytus speaks this lines, in reference to Artemis, after he is condemned to exile by Theseus.

A highly devoted follower of Artemis, Hippolytus must now leave the city and grounds with which she is associated. That Hippolytus calls a goddess his "friend" and the person "closest" to him--considering a goddess to be closer to him than another mortal--shows the degree of his piety and prideful sense of being purer and closer to the divine than most people. Leaving his home, however, Hippolytus now assumes the lowly status of an exile, and must be geographically parted from the source of the very reason for his exile: Artemis, whose reverence and worship by Hippolytus, to the point of neglecting Aphrodite, inspired his and Phaidra's ruin.

Lines 1728-2208 Quotes

I will reveal and you must face
The sexual passion of your wife,
Though what she did, seen in its own strange light,
Burns with her soul’s nobility.

Related Characters: Artemis (speaker), Theseus, Phaidra
Page Number: 1974-1977
Explanation and Analysis:

Having revealed Hippolytus's innocence, Artemis now insists that Theseus must face the truth of his wife's erotic desire for his son.

Artemis flips Theseus's beliefs upside down here, restoring to Hippolytus his innocence and incriminating the last person he expected to betray him--his wife. Unfortunately, this reversal of Theseus's sense of truth and uncovering of the reality behind Phaidra's death comes too late. Invoking Poseidon, Theseus has condemned Hippolytus to death, and the god's curse cannot be undone. This is the truly tragic element of the play, perhaps even more so than Aphrodite's bestowal of an involuntary, sinful love for Hippolytus upon Phiadra. For Hippolytus not only has committed no wrong, but, even when he is discovered innocent, nothing can be done to pardon him of the punishment he's been dealt--there can be no reversal of his curse.

And the maidens’ spontaneous songs
Will dwell on you with endless care.
And fame will find musical words
For Phaidra’s terrible love for you,
And that too will be known.

Related Characters: Artemis (speaker), Hippolytus, Phaidra
Page Number: 2159-2163
Explanation and Analysis:

Though Hippolytus is destined to die--Poseidon's curse on him being irreversible--Artemis here claims that a custom will be established whereby maidens shall sing songs to Hippolytus right before they marry. Intended as a means to improve the reputation of Hippolytus after he dies, this boon by Artemis sends Hippolytus off to his death knowing that his memory will not be tarnished.

Hippolytus' special relationship with Artemis "pays off" in the end; we can see how his devotion to the goddess, though lopsided in relation to his care for Aphrodite, has benefited him in at least one way, even if Aphrodite ultimately succeeds in getting him killed. Yet we are left with the question: was Hippolytus's servant, who suggested that he pay more attention to Aphrodite, ultimately right? Did Hippolytus's relationship with Artemis truly benefit him in the end, if all Artemis could do was to protect his reputation, being ultimately unable to prevent his death?

It seems that, based on Hippolytus's character, we might conclude that he wouldn't think in such a cost-benefit manner, but rather according to his principles and values. Hippolytus did not follow Aphrodite out of principle, and we might think that he would rather die than sacrifice his beliefs. 

Further, another facet of the play's portrayal of fate is revealed by Artemis's desire to protect Hippolytus's reputation after his death. In the world of Euripedes, reputation is something that transcends one's death--it's so important that it's even valuable after one is already dead, despite the fact that the reputed individual will not be around to enjoy their reputation's benefits.

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Artemis Character Timeline in Hippolytus

The timeline below shows where the character Artemis appears in Hippolytus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Lines 1-425
Desire, Sexuality, and Chastity Theme Icon
Gods and Fate Theme Icon
...sees the palace doors, in addition to two statues, one of Aphrodite and another of Artemis. Aphrodite herself appears to the audience, high above the stage, to address the audience and... (full context)
Desire, Sexuality, and Chastity Theme Icon
Gods and Fate Theme Icon
...is that Hippolytus has gone so far his chastity and worship of the virginal goddess Artemis that he rejects the divine power of desire, or Aphrodite herself. In order to take... (full context)
Desire, Sexuality, and Chastity Theme Icon
Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Cities and Place Theme Icon
...the huntsmen and the chorus of Troizenian women in a poetic hymn in praise of Artemis. To complete the prayer, he places a crown of flowers on the statue of Artemis,... (full context)
Desire, Sexuality, and Chastity Theme Icon
Gods and Fate Theme Icon
...he urges Hippolytus to worship the statue of Aphrodite standing next to the one of Artemis, lest he appear arrogant to that powerful goddess. Hippolytus responds cruelly and spurns Aphrodite before... (full context)
Truth, Falsehood, and Reputation Theme Icon
Cities and Place Theme Icon
...of her status, but Phaidra goes on to elaborate that she wants to hunt alongside Artemis. (full context)
Lines 817-1119
Desire, Sexuality, and Chastity Theme Icon
Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Truth, Falsehood, and Reputation Theme Icon
...have seen unfold. The Koryphaios, speaking for the rest of the Troizenian women, swears by Artemis. That done, Phaidra hints at her next moves. She will die – that much is... (full context)
Lines 1369-1727
Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Truth, Falsehood, and Reputation Theme Icon
Cities and Place Theme Icon
...At last, Theseus orders Hippolytus gone. As Hippolytus exits, he utters a goodbye prayer to Artemis and asks his friends to accompany him to the edge of the country. (full context)
Lines 1728-2208
Desire, Sexuality, and Chastity Theme Icon
Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Cities and Place Theme Icon
...say, will he enjoy hunting with his chariot, playing his lyre, or making wreaths for Artemis, and the maidens of Troizen will miss the games in which they struggled to keep... (full context)
Desire, Sexuality, and Chastity Theme Icon
Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Truth, Falsehood, and Reputation Theme Icon
...the chorus sings a brief song to Aphrodite, recognizing her power over all things. Then Artemis, high above the stage, appears suddenly. The goddess wastes no time telling the truth: Phaidra... (full context)
Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Truth, Falsehood, and Reputation Theme Icon
When Theseus cries out in anguish, Artemis continues to accuse him. Instead of conducting an investigation with a level head, she says,... (full context)
Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Truth, Falsehood, and Reputation Theme Icon
...turns to Theseus, he invokes an unspecified ancestral crime as the reason for his suffering. Artemis speaks to him, praising his “noble generous mind”, and Hippolytus feels moved to hear her... (full context)
Desire, Sexuality, and Chastity Theme Icon
Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Truth, Falsehood, and Reputation Theme Icon
Family Relationships Theme Icon
Cities and Place Theme Icon
Artemis promises to take revenge on Aphrodite by shooting one of Aphrodite’s most beloved mortals with... (full context)