As promised, I bring you two more Greek tragedies retold humorously. As far as Greek tragedies go I actually sort of don’t mind Antigone, but I hate Hippolytus with the passion of a thousand burning suns, so.
Now, although Antigone is Oedipus’ kid, this is not a sequel. (My professor compares it to Star Wars: the ones that happen later in the timeline were written first. Unlike Star Wars, the ones that happen later in the timeline are less utterly painful.) It’s presumed that Antigone has grown up more or less under the care of Creon since her mom killed herself and her dad blinded himself, then died, and her submissive wimp of a sister Ismene and two brothers were also under Creon’s watchful eye. But there was a wacky mishap in which the two brothers had promised that one would rule for a year, then the next, and so-on. Eteocles wouldn’t give it up, and Polynieces was pissed, so he got some foreign bros to back him and a battle was waged. The brothers then killed each other in a very dramatic way. In true Greek fashion, all of this happened before the play began, and the most action we get is the retelling of this event. Sigh. Antigone’s pissed, too, because Creon (who now has to accept the duty of ruling wearily) has declared Polynieces a traitor, pretty arbitrarily, and declared he’s not to be properly buried so he can’t cross the River Styx or what have you. Well, Antigone is not having any of that, and although Ismene is too wussy to join in, she says screw it, I’m gonna go bury my brother, even though it’ll probably get me killed. (She knows that she’s doing something to bring a tragic fate on herself, and does it anyway. Oedipus just stumbled onto his. Who’s more tragic? Uh, y’know, I think Antigone, but that’s maybe because I think fate is crap.)
Creon finds out and, being the hard-ass he is, immediately declares that Antigone should be killed. Also in true Greek fashion, he sentences her to be sealed in a cave with no food or water or anything. Because just slicing her head off would be so overrated, not to mention messy. His son Haemon is engaged to Antigone, yet says his dad’s totally got this one under control. (Since Creon was Jocasta’s brother, and Jocasta was Antigone’s mother, this would make Haemon and Antigone cousins, but marrying cousins was okay in the day, just not moms. Even though they’d still make wacky inbred babies probably.) Ismene, meanwhile, is all take me with you and Antigone basically laughs in her face. Ismene wasn’t into it before, but now she feels compelled? Bitch, please. Haemon was sorta just lying to his dad, though, and goes to Antigone’s death cave, only to find she’s rebelliously hung herself. Stick it to the man, Antigone. He then kills himself too, because life without his cousin-fiancee is unbearable or some such. Then Creon’s wife Eurydice, who’s just been knitting the whole time, kills herself out of grief for her son. She slices her entrails out somehow, but we don’t get to see. Darn those Greeks, taking the fun out of everything.
Now Creon has no family. SUCKS FOR YOU DUDE, YOU BROUGHT IT ON YOURSELF. THE END.
Holy moly. This is a stupid, stupid play, and really, it can be summed up in four words: “Aphrodite is a twit.” (And you could replace the vowel in ‘twit’ and you’d get what I really think of her.) Basically, there’s this kid Hippolytus. He’s the son of Theseus and Hippolyta, the Amazon. (It doesn’t really go into a lot of detail about that in the play, but I know my Midsummer Night’s Dream, so.) He’s been exiled and is kicking it in Theseus’ homeland, even though he’s an illegitimate love baby ’cause Theseus is married to Phaedra. Hippolytus, being a chaste warrior sort, worships Artemis, the chaste warrior goddess. He isn’t into sex and the like. But Aphrodite is having none of that. Apparently, my concept of Greek gods was wrong, and it wasn’t convenient to have so many ’cause you could worship the ones you liked best: she’s pissed that he won’t worship her. Because I know that if I was a god (if, if, blasphemy not relevant and all that) I personally would spend all of my time worrying because one stupid kid didn’t worship me. So she’s so pissed that she decides to make Phaedra fall in love with her stepson. And stepson love is as bad as bio-son love to the Greeks, so she’s all ashamed of herself and decides the best course of action would be to go crazy and starve herself. (What is it with these folks and long, drawn out deaths? Seriously.)
She does giant crazy monologues (and not even fun crazy, just sort of is it over yet? crazy) for a while, then the walking talking plot device that is her Nurse is all, whatchu talkin’ bout
Willis Phaedra? Finally, crazy Phaedra, after rambling off some more crazy, says she’s in love with Hippolytus. Oopsies. The Nurse then decides the best course of action would be to go talk to Hippolytus about it. This makes Hippolytus go off on a giant misogynistic rant that sort of made me lose any sympathy for him I might have had if he was, y’know, actually a three-dimensional character ever. Then knowing that he knows, Phaedra goes ahead and kills herself with shame, leaving behind a note saying btw, Hippolytus raped me. ‘Cause that makes sense. Theseus is seriously pissed, and banishes Hippolytus, meanwhile invoking the power of his bio-daddy Poseidon to smite him. Well, Poseidon does this smiting, but Artemis shows up and tells Theseus that Aphrodite was just being a twit and it wasn’t Hippolytus’ fault, so, smote, Hippolytus returns and the father and son forgive each other. Then Hippolytus dies, and Artemis swears vengeance against her sister the twit. THE END.
Yeah. Greek plays are cool ’cause of what they did for plays, in that they were the first, but seriously dudes? Seriously?
–your fangirl heroine