Ippolito parla alla ragazza confermando gli auspici di Ismene e rivelandole il suo amore. Ma il giovane la tranquillizza: non nutre simili sentimenti e non ha alcun proposito di vendetta. Invoca il giovane di ucciderla ma Ippolito fugge lasciandole avventatamente la spada. Teramene lo avvisa che il partito di Fedra, i suoi figli, sono in vantaggio nella corsa alla successione al trono e che, secondo alcune indiscrezioni, Teseo sarebbe ancora in vita. Ma Enone ha un piano diabolico: accusare Ippolito di aver tentato di stuprarla, presentando la spada perduta come prova inconfutabile del misfatto.
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Indeed, a rival group staged a play by the now forgotten playwright Nicolas Pradon on an almost identical theme.
When pressed by Theramenes, he reveals that the real motive is his forbidden love for Aricia, sole survivor of the royal house supplanted by Theseus and under a vow of chastity against her will.
Close to death and reeling about half-dementedly, under pressure from her old nurse Oenone she explains her state, on condition that she be permitted to die rather than face dishonour. The death of Theseus is announced with the news that his succession is in dispute. Oenone urges her mistress that, since her love for her stepson is now legitimate, she should form an alliance with him, if only for the future benefit of the infant son of her own flesh.
Act 2. Suddenly entering a trance-like state overcome by emotion, she involuntarily confesses her hidden passions to her horrified dumb-struck stepson. Theramenes brings news to Hippolytus that Theseus might still be alive. Act 3. However, Oenone brings her the devastating news that Theseus has returned in perfect health.
Act 4. Protesting his innocence, Hippolytus discloses his secret love for Aricia to his incredulous father and leaves in despair. Act 5. Hippolytus takes his leave of Aricia, promising to marry her in a temple outside Troezen.
He decides to question Oenone, but it is too late: Oenone has thrown herself to the waves. She finally succumbs to the effects of a self-administered draught of Medean poison, taken to rid the world of her impurity. It is now one of the most frequently staged tragedies from the seventeenth century.