Study Guide

Theseus: Later Adventures and Death Hippolyta

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Hippolyta is the queen of the Amazons, a race of warrior women descended from Ares, the god of war himself. Poor Hippolyta is always getting picked on by male heroes. First, Theseus kidnaps her, forces her to marry him, then kicks her to the curb so that he can marry Phaedra. Then later on, Heracles comes along, takes her magic belt, and kills her.

Well, there's actually some disagreement about how she died, since some say that Theseus killed her when she busted up his wedding to Phaedra with a pack of angry Amazons. No matter which way you shake it, there's no doubt that Hippolyta had a pretty terrible history when it came to men. What do you think it says that Greek legends constantly showed this powerful woman being mistreated and overpowered by men?

A really docile version of Hippolyta appears in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Two Noble Kinsmen. Hippolyta also shows up in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales: The Knights Tale.

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