By Poulheria Kyriakou

This is often the 1st significant observation onEuropides' Iphigenia in Tauris to seem in English in additional than sixty five years and does complete justice to an undeservedly ignored tragedy. It sheds mild on Euripides' interesting therapy of fantasy, which makes the play an engaging scan in his occupation. The creation and remark speak about broadly the play's well-known reputation and intrigue scenes and its attention-grabbing presentation of the connection of gods and people. The remark additionally bargains clean insights into the play's complicated depiction of Greeks and barbarians, and the position of cult in 5th century Athens.

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Additional resources for A Commentary on Euripides’ Iphigenia in Tauris

Sample text

Concerning the latter, it seems more plausible that Euripides included the invented cults and aetiologies as part of his treatment of the myth, which he presumably fashioned to serve primarily dramatic purposes, rather than that he fashioned the myth in order to explore actual Athenian cults or foster Athenian civic ideology by means of the fictional cults and aetiologies. To take an extreme example of the view that privileges cults and rituals, maturation rituals for Athenian boys and girls perhaps took place at Halae and Brauron (see on 1458-61 and 1462-67a), and Orestes' mission as well as Iphigeneia's near-sacrifice, long exile and eventual return have been viewed as dramatic versions of male and female rites of passage respectively.

2) Orestes, less fully but no less sympathetically drawn than Iphigeneia, is the character that comes quite dangerously close to impiety in the play. Like Iphigeneia, he has suffered exile from home and cruel frustration of hopes for the future. Iphigeneia, though, has committed no crime, she was saved by Artemis at Aulis and is confident that gods, unlike mortals, are pure and moral. Orestes' situation before the recog- 34 Introduction nition seems to be hopeless. He is a matricide relentlessly pursued and maddened by implacable Erinyes even after his acquittal at the Areopagus.

Iphigeneia's experience at Aulis and her aversion to human sacrifices account for her conviction that Artemis rejects the Taurian sacrifices (380-91). Iphigeneia's rationale is not implausible or hopelessly flawed but her conclusion is certainly not the only one that may be reached on the basis of the premises she considers. Similarly, her failure to consider other possibilities in the interpretation of her dream and the decision to pour funeral libations for her brother bespeak excessive confidence that borders on delusion and may prove dangerous.

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