Phaedra By Jean Racine Act IV: Scenes 1-3

ACT IV

SCENE I
THESEUS, OENONE

THESEUS
Ah! What is this I hear? Presumptuous traitor!
And would he have disgraced his father's honour?
With what relentless footsteps Fate pursues me!
Whither I go I know not, nor where know
I am. O kind affection ill repaid!
Audacious scheme! Abominable thought!
To reach the object of his foul desire
The wretch disdain'd not to use violence.
I know this sword that served him in his fury,
The sword I gave him for a nobler use.
Could not the sacred ties of blood restrain him?
And Phaedra, — was she loath to have him punish'd?
She held her tongue. Was that to spare the culprit?

OENONE
Nay, but to spare a most unhappy father.
O'erwhelm'd with shame that her eyes should have kindled
So infamous a flame and prompted him
To crime so heinous, Phaedra would have died.
I saw her raise her arm, and ran to save her.
To me alone you owe it that she lives;
And, in my pity both for her and you,
Have I against my will interpreted
Her tears.

THESEUS
The traitor! He might well turn pale.
'Twas fear that made him tremble when he saw me.
I was astonish'd that he show'd no pleasure;
His frigid greeting chill'd my tenderness.
But was this guilty passion that devours him
Declared already ere I banish'd him
From Athens?

OENONE
Sire, remember how the Queen
Urged you. Illicit love caused all her hatred.

THESEUS
And then this fire broke out again at Troezen?

OENONE
Sire, I have told you all. Too long the Queen
Has been allow'd to bear her grief alone
Let me now leave you and attend to her.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

How is Theseus rumored to have died?




Quiz