"Ain't I, Wasn't She?"
Well, children, isn’t this an unfortunate mess. I would almost rather not make sense of it.
White men were in a fix when Phaedra died. They’re still in a fix now. And what’s all this here talking about who she was, what she did, who she loved—I can tell you now that ain’t nobody has a best place in my mind who Phaedra loved. You can waste your life on that kind of love, which is possible that she did.
So let’s address the men in Phaedra’s life. White men, at that? And how many of y’all white people here in this room with me, that I am yet again a minority in front of, presenting to please, to plead, to be heard, or be seen in front of you as if any of y’all would have listened in the first place. Like Phedra and her pathetic life would have listened to me, to what I stand for, what I died for.
Who even heard of Phaedra before her death? This thing in the head—intellect, they call it. Is it intellectuals who know of her, is it white people who read about her, or cared about her? And what did she do, that should be so moving to all of us?
I understand that we are gathered here for Phaedra’s funeral, and not my own. I understand that this conversation is not about me. But I would like to take the moment, while I have all of y’alls-mostly-white-people attention, to say here we are, again, focusing on something that has little to do with most of us, with many of us, weeping because she may have killed herself because of a man, or been raped by a man.
I am accustomed to poor treatment and poor quality of life because of men. I am familiar with the desire to end my own life because of the pains I feel it takes to carry on.
And so I implore you all, this group of intellectual white people, that while we focus on this white woman’s tragic white death—I implore you not to mourn her. But to learn from her. This is a lesson to anyone here with her amount of privilege—unless you actively fight it, you all remain pawns of the patriarchy.
Wasn’t she a woman?
What was she beyond that?
Obliged to you for hearing me. And now, Old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.
(Written by Siobhan O'Loughlin)
Phaedra was always a very loving woman. She loved her husband, she loved her family, she loved her stepson... okay maybe she loved him a little too much for most peoples’ taste. But come on! Are people seriously going to hold that against her? We’ve all done some pretty bad stuff. We’ve all had terrible urges that we can’t overcome. Like the urge to sex up your stepson, or say... stab your husband in the chest repeatedly, for instance. You know? When that big of an urge comes over you, you just feel helpless. Especially if he kills your daughter and leaves you to go off to war for ten year.
Side rant: What the fuck, Agamemnon?! Like, seriously. First you want to leave your kingdom and me so you can go off and be the soldier that you always thought you were. Newsflash! You can barely walk around your kingdom, how the Hades are you going to fight in a war? Then, when you’re planning to leave, oh shit, looks like you can’t because there aren’t any winds to sail with. But then that dipshit of a seer Calchas comes in with the great idea of “Hey bro, maybe if you kill your daughter in the name of Artemis, just maybe the goddess won’t be so bitchy towards you and let you sail off to war!”. Oh what a splendid idea! And not only were you gone for ten years, to make matters worse, you come back with another woman on your arm. Yeah, you thought it would be awesome to show up all “Hey honey, wow you look tired! Oh, this is my special friend Cassandra, but we totally didn’t have sex in the carriage on the way here. Sooooooooo she can stay here with us, right?”... Are you kidding me? You know, if your cousin Aegisthus and I hadn’t come up with a plan to kill you before you got there, I would have ripped your balls off in front of everyone. “Of course dear, she can stay until the end of her days. Why don’t you go run yourself a nice, warm bath? I know you must be exhausted from your journey.” Damn I’m a good actress. You know Aegisthus wanted to be the one to finish you off? He was ready with the knife and net but I just snatched that shit right out of his hands and went ham. Killed Cassandra too by the way. Oh, and Aegisthus is bigger.
Uh, you know, urges like that. Totally hypothetical urges like that. Phaedra knew what it was like to fight those passions every day. She shouldn’t be vilified for how she felt. She couldn’t help who she fell in love with because it was out of her hands from the beginning. Everything is out of our hands. It’s in the hands of the Gods. The love she felt wasn’t her fault. Looking at you Aphrodite!
Rest in peace Phaedra. It’s a damn tragedy what happened to you.
(Written by Zack Bakouris)
I’ve always admired Phaedra. Of course, she and I bear the same cross. “Incest”- what is incest to get in the way of true love? Be it your stepson or- or perhaps your husband’s father’s brother’s child; how is that love so wrong? How is that any worse than being married to a man you abhor with your entire being?
I know I’m not perfect; but when I found Adam, he made me want to live a better life. He was my soulmate, and I don’t know what I would have done if he had pushed me aside as Hippolytus had Phaedra. Why should we be denied of loving someone with everything we have? Why is that such a crime?
Not only that, but it’s not as if we get to choose who we fall in love with. And Phaedra had literally no say, thanks to a bitter Aphrodite. Which is where our similarities end because I made my decision knowing exactly what I was getting myself into, but she was shoved into an awful situation head first. Further proof that the gods never have and never will care about our wellbeing.
Anyhow, now that we’re all here, I personally wish to applaud Phaedra for her efforts. It must have been tough, finding a good and proper ending to her chapter in a significantly larger book. She did what she could given the circumstances. If she couldn’t have what she wanted, then by the gods she was sure going to wreak havoc to her last breath- it’s what women like us are made to do.
Who would’ve thought- sweet Phaedra accusing Hippolytus of rape. (chuckles) Maybe the Queen of Athens and I will meet in another life. That would be one hell of a time.
Cheers, Phaedra, for meeting a much more elegant end than I.
(Written by Katie Schoenfeld)
My dear Phaedra, I am so sorry that you had to die, but I cannot help but think “I told you so.” I attempted, as I always do, to be the heroine I am and warn everyone of your fate, but alas no one believed me. Such is my life. Remember when I caused the Trojan War?
(She smiles darkly.)
At least you got to experience true love, even though I understand that led to your eventual demise. Again, so sorry. Better luck next time.
Oh – oh – What is this?
(She temporarily goes into a world of her own.)
Oh no! I see this funeral will end tragically. Someone here in this room is a murderer. Help! Help! Oh, so much pain and blood, and death. Enough!! I do not want to see any more.
(Back to audience.) You do not believe a word I say, do you?
(She shrugs.) Your funeral.
(written by Megan Seeley)