Phaedra (bright one) In Greek mythology, daughter of Minos and Pasiphae; sister of Acacallis, Androgeus, Ariadne, Catreus, Deucalion, Euryale, Glaucus, Lycastus, and Xenodice; wife of Theseus; mother of Acamas and Demophon; in love with Hippolytus, her stepson. Phaedra married Theseus after the death of Antiope, his previous wife. Being much younger than Theseus, Phaedra fell in love with her stepson Hippolytus, but the youth rejected Phaedra’s advances. In retaliation for the rejection Phaedra accused Hippolytus of attempting to rape her and then hanged herself. Theseus banished Hippolytus and prayed for vengeance on him, and Hippolytus was then killed by Poseidon. Phaedra appears in Euripides’ Hippolytus, Seneca’s Phaedra, and Ovid’s Heroides (4). Racine’s Phèdre was used as the basis for the Jean Cocteau ballet with music of Georges Auric. Others works using Racine’s text were Ildebrando Pizetti’s opera Phaedra (1915) and a modern movie version of the plot, Phaedra, (1961) starring Melina Mercouri.


Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante