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Oh, the heart of mortals, how far will it go? What limit can be set to hardihood and brazenness? If it grows great in the course of a man's life, and the man who comes after shall overtop his predecessor [940] in knavery, the gods will have to add another earth to our world to hold the criminal and the vile!

Look at this man! He was born from my loins, and yet he disgraced my bed and is clearly convicted [945] of utter baseness by the dead woman here.

Hippolytus turns away.
Come, show your face to your father, eye to eye, since in any case I have already involved myself in pollution.1 Are you, then, the companion of the gods, as a man beyond the common? Are you the chaste one, untouched by evil? [950] I will never be persuaded by your vauntings, never be so unintelligent as to impute folly to the gods. Continue then your confident boasting, take up a diet of greens and play the showman with your food, make Orpheus your lord and engage in mystic rites, holding the vaporings of many books in honor.2 [955] For you have been found out. To all I give the warning: avoid men like this. For they make you their prey with their high-holy-sounding words while they contrive deeds of shame.

She is dead. Do you think this will save you? This is the fact that most serves to convict you, villainous man. [960] For what oaths, what arguments, could be more powerful than she is, to win you acquittal on the charge? Will you claim that she hated you and that the bastard is always regarded as an enemy to the true-born? It is a poor merchant of her own life you make her, then, [965] if she destroyed what was most precious to herself for enmity of you.3 But will you say that folly is not to be found in men but is native to women? I know that young men are no more stable than women when Aphrodite stirs their young hearts to confusion. [970] But their standing as males steads them well.

And so now—but why do I wage this contest against your speech when this corpse, witness most reliable, lies near? Go forth from this land with all speed as an exile, and come no more either to god-built Athens [975] or to the borders of any land ruled by my spear. For if I am to be bested by you when you have done this to me, Isthmian Sinis shall no longer attest that I killed him but say it was an idle boast, and the Skironian rocks near the sea [980] shall deny that I am a scourge to evil-doers.

Chorus Leader
I know not how I might say that any mortal enjoys good fortune. For all that is noblest is now overthrown.

1 Those who have committed terrible crimes are thought to contaminate those who looked at them or came into close contact with them. Since, however, Theseus has already looked at his son, there is no reason for him not to continue to do so.

2 Theseus compares Hippolytus to the Orphics, an ascetic religious sect that ate a vegetarian diet and had a reputation for hypocrisy.

3 The trade Theseus here cannot imagine is in fact close to the trade Phaedra chose, though by her death she won not only Hippolytus' punishment but also the rescue of her own good name.

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