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Conflicting Values between Phaedra and the Nurse in Euripides's Hippolytus

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Introduction

To what extent do the values of the Nurse conflict to with the values of Phaedra in lines 433 to 481? To a large extent the values of the nurse conflict with those of Phaedra , however both agree that one cannot contradict the will of the gods and at different points both coincide that in the given situation it would be better to die. At the beginning Phaedra expresses her wish to go hunting and horse riding, suggesting that she desires to be near Hippolytus , yet by doing so she would be break the social convention that dictated women could only leave the house for religious purposes . The nurse knows this, and warns her that to challenge the norm would is madness 'words that ride on madness' .However once Phaedra's secret is revealed it is the Nurse the one who advocates a departure from the social code, while Phaedra strives to uphold her reputation and society's values. ...read more.

Middle

With respect to destiny and veneration to gods both uphold the same values however they derive different conclusions from them . Previously the Nurse establishes her admiration for moderation '' I praise excess less than moderation'', in contrast Phaedra seems to prefer to have a tendency towards the extremes, first she wishes to go hunting to follow Hippolytus and later to die. Here we see how they have contrasting opinions. Additionally they differ on what should be done with Phaedra's forbidden love. The Nurse explains that to be in love is nothing extraordinary '' you are in love - what is so surprising about that ? '' her rhetorical question implies that the situation is not atypical and that it can be easily resolved without resorting to extremes. ...read more.

Conclusion

Phaedra expands on the unacceptable behavior of unfaithful women, yet later the Nurse counter argues that men too behave in this way 'many fathers help their sons in love affairs''. They disagree on the worth of reputation, the Nurse revealing her corrupt moral values, however it can be argued that she wishes to deter her mistress's suicidal intentions. After all she does show great duty towards her and even declares that she ''can no longer exist'' after Phaedra reveals her secret. Thus is can be concluded that to a large extent the values of the Nurse conflict with those of Phaedra , however they both coincide that fate nor the will of the gods can be denied. It can be argued that the Nurse's intention is to help her mistress by diminishing the values she upholds and therefore prevent her suicide. ...read more.

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