Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Hippolytus can help.

Hippolytus Characters


Theseus is the son of the god Poseidon, the mythical founder-king of Athens, and also king of the city of Troizen. The myths about him abound. Most famously, he outsmarted and defeated the Minotaur of… read analysis of Theseus


Hippolytus is the son of Theseus by another woman, an Amazonian named Hippolyte. As a bastard child, he is unlikely to ascend to political power in Troizen. Instead, he prefers hunting and riding his horses… read analysis of Hippolytus


Phaidra is Theseus’ wife and Hippolytus’ stepmother. Medea, the heroine who is the subject of another Euripides play, is her ancestor. Before the play begins, a sexual desire for Hippolytus has taken hold of her… read analysis of Phaidra


The nurse has the difficult job of looking after Phaidra after she has gone sick with desire. She is both deeply sympathetic with Phaidra’s suffering, but also willing and pragmatic enough to follow her own… read analysis of Nurse


Aphrodite is the goddess of love and desire. In the play’s opening, she announces what will happen: Hippolytus has failed to respect her, as he is too much devoted to virginity, and will pay the… read analysis of Aphrodite
Get the entire Hippolytus LitChart as a printable PDF.
Hippolytus PDF


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… read analysis of Artemis


Every Greek tragedy has a chorus, a group of singers whose role is to watch as the action unfolds and offer reactions in the form of odes that were probably sung. They represent an audience-within-the-play… read analysis of Chorus


Again, in every Greek tragedy, one member of the chorus speaks as a character in dialogue, and the name Koryphaios translates as “speaker of the chorus”. Another Troizenian maiden, she regularly expresses surprise and grief… read analysis of Koryphaios


The messenger belongs to Hippolytus’ group of friends, and he is present in the crowd that escorts Hippolytus to his exile. He witnesses the earthquake, wave, and divine bull that kill Hippolytus on the shore… read analysis of Messenger
Minor Characters
This servant to Hippolytus, probably an old man, appears only once in the play. He warns Hippolytus not to ignore the goddess Aphrodite, but Hippolytus spurns him.