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Ariadne


A mesmerizing debut novel about Ariadne, Princess of Crete for fans of Madeline ...
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Unlike Ariadne, Phaedra doesn't remember a time before the Minotaur. How do the sisters' different childhoods change their outlooks on life and impact their personalities?

Created: 05/13/21

Replies: 9

Posted May. 13, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3442

Unlike Ariadne, Phaedra doesn't remember a time before the Minotaur. How do the sisters' different childhoods change their outlooks on life and impact their personalities?

Unlike Ariadne, Phaedra doesn't remember a time before the Minotaur. How do the sisters' different childhoods change their outlooks on life and impact their personalities?


Posted May. 13, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lorrained

Join Date: 12/04/20

Posts: 151

RE: Unlike Ariadne, Phaedra doesn't...

Ariadne knew how the Minotaur was produced, watched the demise of her mother's mind and position, and saw the cruelty and pain of it all and the terror that resulted.
Phaedra knew little of the origins, accepted the Minotaur as a part of their lives, and perhaps regarded the cruelty as essential or deserved. She grew with little empathy and was more self-centered in her actions.


Posted May. 16, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 381

RE: Unlike Ariadne, Phaedra doesn't...

Phaedra is shaped from her earliest childhood by living in an atmosphere of fear and horror. This makes her fierce, resentful, defiant, defensive. She wants to take her fate into her own hands, which is an understandable impulse, but acting on impulses without thinking ahead or being open to other ideas is never a good idea.

Phaedra was capable of thinking before acting—when first brought to Athens, she realized it would be better to pretend to believe Theseus’s lie, and take her time to find our more. She was capable of tactfully making a place for herself as part of the group of men looking after Athens for Theseus. But she could not control her impulses when it came to Hippolytus. I think was desperate at that point, starved for affection from a good person. She just hadn’t had enough experience of unselfish love and guidance for most of her life—only from Ariadne, from whom she was separated for so long. Phaedra shows the impact of lifelong trauma, of neglect and emotional abuse from being used and having no control over her life, despite living in a privileged environment. (Or even because of that: the more wealth and power men had, the more they treated women as political pawns, it seems.)

Ariadne had the experience of maternal love for about a decade before her mother’s tragedy. She had already begun to learn to take responsibility for others, including her sister. It was this caring and concern for the Athenian youths that led to her bold actions. She thought ahead; she knew how to ask for the help she needed, from her maid, from Daedalus. She was less impulsive and defensive than Phaedra. So even though she experienced the ultimate betrayal by Theseus, she was able to cope, even to sacrifice to the gods. She shows the effect of learning from childhood how to be patient, cautious, loving, even to dance to work through one’s feelings and adapt to difficult circumstances.


Posted May. 17, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 215

RE: Unlike Ariadne, Phaedra doesn't...

Ariadne has more compassion, possibly because she remembers the minotaur as a baby in their mother’s arms, not just as a monster. Also she had more of her mother’s love because she was older. Also Phaedra was kind of a self centered brat from the beginning.


Posted May. 19, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ScribblingScribe

Join Date: 02/29/16

Posts: 217

RE: Unlike Ariadne, Phaedra doesn't...

Phaedra felt the distance between her and her mother--the same distance she put between herself and her children. She didn't know the love and kindness Ariadne had known. She had no fond memories, only fear of her brother and antipathy toward her mother. This is what turned her into the selfish woman she became. She lost the only person who mattered to her--Ariadne. And then she was bound to Theseus by duty.

Ariadne, on the other hand, remembered her childhood before the minotaur. She knew her mother's true self and understood what broke her. She was more compassionate about what happened and was able to frame her mother's rejection and distance with the reality of what had happened to her.


Posted May. 19, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beverlyj

Join Date: 12/22/11

Posts: 154

RE: Unlike Ariadne, Phaedra doesn't...

Phaedra did not remember anytime when her family had any semblance of a normal childhood - she grew up in a time when her mother was going crazy, one brother was a monster, one was away, and one was killed. She really only had a sister, Ariadne who also had a close relationship with Daedalus and was about to be married off to an old man and was going to leave her. She had no one who was on her side.

Ariadne remembered when her mother was loving and while she so the cruelty out there in the world, she also saw Daedalus have a loving relationship with his sun and her dancing brought her some peace and a more optimistic view on life.


Posted May. 21, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
patriciag's Gravatar
patriciag

Join Date: 07/11/14

Posts: 74

Sisters

Ariadne fully experienced her mother's torment: the ambivalence of loving a child who would become a monster. She also recognized the cruelty of her father and the power he wielded over all in his kingdom. Having these parents gave her courage and compassion for the Athenian hostages and for her younger sister. She sacrificed everything to protect them. Phaedre's childhood was shielded from the worst of Crete. She did not develop the character resources to help her survive the difficult times she would have to face later.


Posted May. 21, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 466

RE: Unlike Ariadne, Phaedra doesn't...

I might be the odd person out here... I did not connect Phaedra and the word selfish together at all while I was reading. Even as I think about now that it has been brought to my attention, I'm still not sure I would describe her that way. Phaedra truly had no one she could rely on while growing up on Crete. Her mother had been driven mad by the gods. Her father did not spend any time nurturing her- -girls were a means to achieve more power by making alliances through marriage. And while Ariandne tried to include Phaedra, she was really just a child herself in many ways. Phaedra knew Ariadne would be leaving her anyway as a wedding was being planned. Then she was tricked by Theseus and abandoned by him and Ariadne. Finally, she was sent away from home, to a possibly hostile city, and told she would marry. She had absolutely no control or power over her own life.

I saw her behavior as a way for her to claim this control. She had a purpose and for a while she was fulfilled. Due to her minimal emotional upbringing, I'm sure Phaedra was stunted. This is why some of her decisions seemed short-sighted. I think it was her fear of being a mother, especially after her own experience, that played a part in her feelings toward her sons. She had also been horribly disappointed by their father by this point. I know there are times I have rejected others out of fear of being rejected by them first. Maybe that was what Phaedra was doing. Everyone else in her life had left her, disappointed her, fallen short of her ideal. Could she survive that from her sons as well?


Posted May. 22, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 381

RE: Unlike Ariadne, Phaedra doesn't...

I agree, acstrine. I did not see her as selfish, but as acting out of impulses to meet genuine emotional needs. She never had the resources to draw upon from her early childhood, as Ariadne did—-and she didn’t have a loving husband like her sister. She made unwise choices out of her immaturity —stunted is a good word for it.


Posted May. 31, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BuffaloGirl

Join Date: 01/13/18

Posts: 229

RE: Unlike Ariadne, Phaedra doesn't...

Phaedra seemed emotionally stunted; her emotional growth stopped when her mother was used as a pawn by Minos and Poseidon and essentially had a mental break.

Ariadne seemed much more emotionally mature; kind, caring, loving, thinking of others needs, etc.


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