The reason Wilde wrote this poem to Sarah Bernhardt
was because she usually played Racine
's Phedre, a French
classic about Greek figures. The list of characters goes as follows:
: King of Athens
, son of Egee, raped Antiope resulting in the birth of Hippolyte, married to Phedre.
: Wife of Thesee, mother of two, loves Hippolyte.
: Son of Thesee and Antiope, in love with Aricie.
: Daughter of Egee's sister (making her cousins with Thesee), in love with Hippolyte.
: Queen of the Amazones.
: Gouvernor of Hippolyte.
: Phedre's confident.