Phaedra Movie Analysis

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Jules Dassin's film Phaedra is a modern retelling of Euripides' Hippolytus that focuses on wealthy ship owners and their families, yet the film still incorporates some of the tragic elements of Euripides' play. As with the play, core of the film revolves around a stepmother falling love in with her stepson, yet the film presents several of its main characters with different characterizations than their Euripidean counterparts. These changes result in feelings of passion and jealousy amongst the characters that drives the conflict forward.
The story of the film has many parallels to the ancient play that it is inspired by. These parallels can clearly be seen in the actions of the film's character Phaedra and the play's character of the same
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Once in Greece, Phaedra and Alexis quarrel several times due to the arranged marriage between Alexis and his second cousin. Due to her jealousy, Phaedra tries to stop the arranged marriage and to take back Alexis, yet he does not want her anymore. This rejection is the catalyst for the deaths of Phaedra and Alexis at the end of the film. The rejection leads to the death of Phaedra since it causes her to commit suicide. The rejection also leads to Alexis' death since it causes Phaedra to reveal the affair to Thanos, the film's Theseus and Alexis' father. Mirroring the ending of the play, Thanos confronts Alexis, beats him, and then banishes him. Furious, Alexis drives away in his car and ends up dying in a crash with a truck, which takes the place of the bull. In a way, like Theseus in the ancient tragedy, Thanos is responsible for the death of his son because he was the one who gave Alexis the car.
Jules Dassin's film Phaedra is a modernization of Euripides' Hippolytus that captures the tragic elements of the original. Like the ancient tragedy, the core of the film revolves around the incestuous love of a stepmother for her stepson. However, the film makes changes to the characterization of the main characters, especially the film's Hippolytus, which allow it to have its own take on the classic

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