While readers of Euripides' Hippolytus have long regarded Phaedra's deltos as a mechanism of punitive revenge, I argue here that the tablet models itself on a judicial curse (defixio) and that its main function is to ensure victory for Phaedra in the upcoming “trial” over her reputation. In support of my thesis I examine three interrelated phenomena: first, Hippolytus' infamous assertion that his tongue swore an oath while his mind remains unsworn (612); second, Phaedra's status as a biaiothanatos; and third, Phaedra's claim that Hippolytus “will learn sophrosune” (731), a speech act that, I conclude, anticipates the silencing effect on Hippolytus of Phaedra's death and her writing.

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