Two different characters at two different moments in the play wear a crown of flowers as a meaningful sign. When we first meet Hippolytus, he has just returned from hunting in the wilderness with a band of huntsmen, and he places a crown of flowers by the statue of Artemis as a token of worship. He wove it together, he says, in a “meadow as virginal as you [Artemis] are” (115). Later, when it becomes clear that Phaidra’s accusation has doomed Hippolytus and he goes into exile, the chorus laments that Hippolytus will no longer place “wildflower crowns” for Artemis (1764). The crown represents Hippolytus’ commitment to chastity and virginity, and the beautiful nature with which those commitments are associated – and the goddess Artemis watches over all of these. The other crown of flowers appears when Theseus returns from the oracle. The fact that Theseus is wearing such a crown means that the gods there gave him a favorable or optimistic response to whatever question he asked of the oracle. Unlike Hippolytus’ crown, Theseus’ comes with a deep irony: the gods made him hopeful even though disasters unfolded at home, including the death of his wife.
Crown of Flowers Quotes in Hippolytus
The Hippolytus quotes below all refer to the symbol of Crown of Flowers. 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: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer 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…
Crown of Flowers Symbol Timeline in Hippolytus
The timeline below shows where the symbol Crown of Flowers appears in Hippolytus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...the chorus confirms Phaidra’s death, Theseus enters for the first time in the play. His crown of flowers indicates that the oracle, whom he was visiting, gave him a favorable response to whatever... (full context)