IPHIGENIA IN TAURIS GOETHE PDF

Source First Act Iphigenia was saved by the goddess Diana. On the island, she is a well-known priest, who is loved by the people and by the king, Thoas. She still longs for her old home in order to see her brother. Iphigenia was able to convince the king to abolish the human sacrifice.

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She also recounts a dream she has recently had, suggesting that her brother, Orestes , is dead. Soon after, though, Orestes himself, accompanied by his friend Pylades , enters. He explains how, after being acquitted by the gods and the state of Athens for killing his mother to avenge his father, Apollo has required him to perform one last act of penance, to steal a sacred statue of Artemis from Tauris and bring it back to Athens.

However, they are captured by Taurian guards and brought to the temple to be killed, according to the local custom. Iphigenia , who has not seen her brother since his childhood and believes him dead anyway, is about to commence the sacrifice, when chance causes their relationship to be discovered Iphigenia plans to use one of the captured Greeks to convey a letter and, after a contest of friendship between the two in which each insists on sacrificing his own life for that of his comrade, it becomes apparent that Orestes himself is the intended recipient of the letter.

After a touching scene of reunion, they devise a plan to escape together. Iphigeneia tells King Thoas that the statue of Artemis has been spiritually polluted by her murderer brother, and advises him to make the foreigners cleanse the idol in the sea to remove the dishonour that she, as its keeper, has brought upon it. Despite the attempts of the Chorus of Greek slaves to mislead him, King Thoas finds out from a messenger that the Greeks have escaped and he vows to pursue and kill them as their escape is delayed by adverse winds.

However, he is stopped by the goddess Athena, who appears at the end of the play to give instructions to the characters. Athena bids the Greeks convey the statue to Greece and establish the worship of Artemis Tauropolus although with milder offerings substituted for the barbaric human sacrifices at Halae and Brauron, where Iphigenia is to become a priestess.

Analysis Back to Top of Page The play was held in high estimation among the ancients including Aristotle for its beauty and its magnificent picture of devoted friendship and sisterly affection, and the modern verdict has been no less favourable.

The celebrated scene in which Iphigenia is about to sacrifice her brother just as they are on the very brink of mutual recognition, with its long suspense and the various unexpected turns of fortune, and then the ecstatic joy of the revealed brother and sister, constitute one of the greatest triumphs of dramatic art. By combining and rearranging the tangled threads, and by adding fresh inventions of his own, Euripides was able to produce a striking legend and one of the finest of his plots.

Indeed, the three constituent elements of the legend the old Greek ceremonies, the Tauric worship and the traditions about Iphigenia are rescued from their previous confusion and combined into a plausible and connected story, while at the same time throwing the odium of the primitive form of sacrifice firmly onto the barbarians and foreigners.

Euripides was known for his striking portrayals of female characters, and Iphigenia is no exception, although she perhaps lacks the dramatic depth of his Medea and Electra. She is haughty and proud; she longs for her own culture, and yet she vehemently hates her countrymen for what they did to her; she is daring, cool and passionate, and it is her quick thinking and formidable bearing that facilitate their ultimate escape.

The main themes of the play are the comradely and brotherly love and friendship of Orestes and Pylades and the familiar love between the siblings Orestes and Iphigenia.

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The reader of the Iliad will remember that Iphigenia was sacrificed by her father Agamemnon to appease Diana, the goddess, to obtain favorable winds to carry the Grecian Warships to the shores of Troy. In Goethes play Diana safes Iphigenias life at the last moment, in secretly substituting her, hidden in a cloud, for the body of a young deer. Diana takes Iphigenia to her temple at Tauris, to be her servant priestess. Iphigenia has no memory of anything before. The play is set some years after the end of the Trojan War. She is lonesome and still hopes for some magical event, to return one day to Greece and be united with her family. King Thoas of Tauris has lost his son and wife and is courting Iphigenia.

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Iphigenie in Tauris

When the gods came to see Tantalus in turn, he tested their omniscience by offering his own son Pelops to them as their meal. Offended by the deception, the gods banished Tantalus from their community to Tartarus and cursed him and his family, the House of Atreus. This became known as the curse on the Tantalids, in which descendants from Tantalus in every subsequent generation were driven by revenge and hatred to the killing of their own family members. Thus did Agamemnon , army commander and great-grandson of Tantalus, offer his eldest daughter Iphigenia to goddess Diana in Greek known as Artemis to ensure favourable winds for the voyage from Aulis, modern Avlida , to Troy , where he intended to wage war against Troy.

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Iphigenia in Tauris – Euripides – Ancient Greece – Classical Literature

She also recounts a dream she has recently had, suggesting that her brother, Orestes , is dead. Soon after, though, Orestes himself, accompanied by his friend Pylades , enters. He explains how, after being acquitted by the gods and the state of Athens for killing his mother to avenge his father, Apollo has required him to perform one last act of penance, to steal a sacred statue of Artemis from Tauris and bring it back to Athens. However, they are captured by Taurian guards and brought to the temple to be killed, according to the local custom. Iphigenia , who has not seen her brother since his childhood and believes him dead anyway, is about to commence the sacrifice, when chance causes their relationship to be discovered Iphigenia plans to use one of the captured Greeks to convey a letter and, after a contest of friendship between the two in which each insists on sacrificing his own life for that of his comrade, it becomes apparent that Orestes himself is the intended recipient of the letter.

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