The play opens with Theseus, Duke of Athens, preparing to marry Hippolyta, former queen of the Amazons. In Greek mythology, Theseus became king of Athens after defeating the monster of the Cretan Labyrinth (the Minotaur.) He continued to perform heroic feats, one of which was defeating Hippolyta in battle. She was the queen of a legendary tribe of women-only warriors, famed for their ferocity. Theseus captured her and took her back to Athens where she bore a son, Hippolytus. She died soon afterwards; in some versions of the story, she was killed fighting against her own people, the Amazons, who came to reclaim her. Their son, when he grew up, dedicated himself to chastity; he later met Phaedra, Theseus' estranged wife, who tried to seduce him and, when he refused her, hanged herself and left a letter pretending he had attacked her. Theseus sent him into exile, where he was killed before the truth could be revealed.