AS A TRAGIC PLAY:
To a reader of Seneca's Phaedra the first impression that it leaves on his mind is that it is a high tragedy and a rare literary production of the first order.An audience will have the same impression if he is fortunate enough to see it enacted on the stage, although such change, for certain response, is again, rare. The play may be called a curious mixture,for although it follows classical tragedy to a considerable extent, it also contains matters that are exclusively Senecan in nature.
Let us, first see in which respect Phaedra is modelled on a Greek tragic play. In this respect Aristotle,the great philosopher and theoritician, will be of a great help to us. He defines tragedy as the imitation of an action that is serious and also, having magnitude, complete in itself. In Seneca's Phaedra the action that is initiated revolves round an attempt to fulfil the desire of unnatural passion. It is so serious in nature that the protagonist is ready even to die for it.The play is of a complete length that can be completed favourably with the full length drama.It is complete in the sense that the action reaches a state after which it cannot be continue and its plot has a beginning, middle, and ending. The dramatic action and interest practically end with the emd of Phaedra;s life.
THE STORY IN SHORT:
Phaedra, daughter of the king of Crete and queen of Athenas, feels lonely when her husband Theseus goes to the underworld to help his friend there. She suspects that he has gone there for lust and lawless marriage. Since no one can succeed in coming back from there, she fears there is no chance his coming back home from Hades. Apart from anxiety on this ground she gets on rest of sleeplessness at night and buring sensation in her heart. Sne finds no interest in regular work but takes pleasure in running after wild animal with a spear in her hand. She wants to know why like her mother she too has passion for woods and field. She feels that like her mother who had fallen in love with an angre and lecherous bull . She too has been stricken with abnormal love. Nothing that this runs in their family, Pheadre holds venus who hates all children of her her enemy the sun responsible for it .At this condition Pheadra falls in love with her step son hippolitus. But he does not response to her love. When Thesheus comes back home , she says him that his son raped her.In this situation the tragedy takes place.
THE CHARACTERS OF PHAEDRA: