Potifar’s Wife

Themes

Lines 21-26

He stood steadily, like a rock, coldblooded Hebrew,

who neither Phaedra, nor Euripides

had encountered before

The poem embarks upon the story of Potifar’s wife, as this is narrated in Book 39 of the Genesis. Potifar was one of the Pharaoh’s officials and had Josesh, a Hebrew, as his confidant. Potifar’s wife attempted several times to seduce him, but Joseph remained loyal to his master. In order to revenge him Potifar’s wife falsely accused him of attempted rape and, as a result Joseph was thrown in jail. Charalambides’ poem does not reveal Joseph’s end − albeit he hints at it − but focuses mainly on the lad’s honor and integrity. The story of Potifar’s wife shares many similarities with Phaedra’s indecorous love with her stepson Hippolytus, evoked en passant in the quotation. Τhis myth was treated by Euripides in his Hippolytus. 

Language

Characters

Phaedra

Hippolytus (implicitly, through the reference to Joseph)

Bibliography

 

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