Sunday, September 15, 2013

Phaedra or Nurse?

This speech is sung after Hippolytus finishes his depiction of women, and balances an earlier speech sung by the chorus (Hippolytus 362-72):
How luckless, how ill-starred, is the fate of women! [670] What arts do we have, what speech, once we have faltered, that can undo the knot our words have created? I have received my just deserts! Ho, earth, ho, light of the sun! How shall I escape what has befallen, how hide the painful fact, my friends? [675] What god, what mortal shall appear to help me, sit at my side, and lend hand to my unjust deeds? For my present misfortune crosses now—unhappy the crossing—to the farther bourne of life. Unluckiest am I of women!
Grene and Hamilton give the speech to Phaedra; others (including Perseus) give it to the Nurse. If Phaedra speaks, then she has just entered, and is indicating that she overheard what Hippolytus said to the Nurse. If it's the Nurse, then Phaedra enters right at the end, and is addressed by the Chorus Leader:
Chorus Leader[680] Oh dear, all is over, mistress, and the designs of your servant have not succeeded: all is lost.
Who do you think is speaking here?

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