“Iphigenia in Aulis” Euripides in brief summary

The Trojan War began. The Trojan prince Paris deceived and kidnapped Elena, the wife of the Spartan king Menelaus. The Greeks gathered on them a huge army, led by Argos king Agamemnon, Brother Menelaus and Clytemnestra’s husband – Elena’s sister. The army stood in Aulis – on the Greek shore, facing Troy. But it could not sail – the goddess of these places, Artemis, the hunter and patroness of women in childbirth, sent to the Greeks a calm or even nasty winds.

Why Artemis did it – told differently. Maybe she just wanted to protect Troy, who was patronized by her brother Apollo. Maybe Agamemnon, amusing himself at leisure with a hunt, was amazed at the doe with an arrow and proudly exclaimed that Artemis herself would not have struck more accurately, which was an insult to the goddess. Or maybe the flag happened: two eagles seized and torn the pregnant hare, and the diviner said: this means – two kings will take Troy, full of treasures,

but they can not escape the wrath of Artemis, the patroness of pregnant women and women in childbirth. Artemis needs to be propitiated.

How to placate Artemis – this story was only one. The diviner said: the goddess requires a human sacrifice – let the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, the beautiful Iphigenia, be slaughtered on the altar. Human sacrifices in Greece have long been out of the ordinary; and such a sacrifice that the father sacrificed his daughter was a matter entirely unheard of. And yet the victim was brought. For Iphigenia sent messengers: let her be brought to the Greek camp, King Agamemnon wants to marry her for the best Greek hero – Achilles. Iphigenia was brought, but instead of her wedding, death awaited her: she was tied up, tied to her mouth so that her cries did not interfere with the rite, they carried to the altar, the priest brought a knife over her… But here the goddess Artemis relented: she wrapped the altar with a cloud, threw it under the knife priest instead of a girl sacrificial doe, and Iphigenia carried away through the air to the end of the earth, to

Tavrida, and made her his priestess there. On the fate of Iphigenia in Tauris, Euripides wrote another tragedy. But none of the Greeks had any idea of ​​what had happened: everyone was sure that Iphigenia had fallen on the altar. And the mother of Iphigenia, Clytemnestra, hid for this mortal hatred of Agamemnon, her child-killer husband. How many terrible cases followed, then Aeschylus will show in his Oresteia.

Here is about this sacrifice of Iphigenia and wrote his tragedy Euripides. There are three heroes: first Agamemnon, then Clytemnestra and, finally, Iphigenia itself. The action begins with Agamemnon’s conversation with his faithful old slave. Night, quiet, calm, but in the heart of Agamemnon there is no peace. Good slave: his work is obedience; it’s hard for the tsar: his business is a decision. In it the duty of the leader is struggling: lead the army to victory – and the feeling of the father: to save his daughter. At first the duty of the leader was overpowered:

He sent to Argos an order to bring Iphigenia to Avlida – as if for a wedding with Achilles. Now the feeling of the father has overcome: here is the letter with the cancellation of this order, let the old man take him to Argos to Clytemnestra as soon as possible, and if the mother and daughter have already left, let them stop them on the way and return them. The old man goes on his way, Agamemnon – to his tent; the sun rises. A chorus of local women appears: they certainly do not know anything and in a long song sincerely glorify the great conceived hike, listing the leader for the leader and the ship behind the ship.

The song of the choir ends with an unexpected noise. The slave-old man was not far away: when he left the camp, he was met by the one to whom this war is more necessary and more expensive, King Menelaus; Without thinking twice, he took the secret letter, read it, and now he poured Agamemnon with reproaches: how, he changed himself and the army, he brings a common cause for the sake of his family affairs – he wants to save his daughter? Agamemnon flashes: did not Menelai start all this common cause to please his own family affairs – to return his wife? “The vanity!” Menelaus shouts, “you are afraid of command and take too much on yourself!” “Madman!” Cried Agamemnon, “I take a lot on myself, but I will not take sin on my soul!” And then – a new scary news: while the brothers were arguing, nobody warned Clytemnestra with Iphigenia already approached the camp, the army already knows about it and makes noises about the wedding of the princess. Agamemnon wilts: he sees that he can not stand alone against all. And Menelaus wilts: he realizes that the ultimate culprit of the death of Iphigenia is still him. The choir sings the song with a kind and unkind love: Elena’s love that caused this war was not good.

Clytemnestra and Iphigenia drive in, they descend from the chariot; Why is Agamemnon so sadly meeting them? “The king’s cares!” Is LI Iphigenia expecting a wedding? “Yes, she will be led to the altar.” And where is the wedding sacrifice to the gods? “I’m cooking it.” Agamemnon persuades Clytemnestra to leave her daughter and return to Argos. “No, never: I am a mother, and at the wedding I am a mistress.” Clytemnestra enters the tent, Agamemnon goes to the camp; the choir, realizing that sacrifices and wars can not escape, muffles the sadness of the song about the coming fall of Troy.

Behind all this, one more participant of the action, Achilles, was forgotten. His name was used to deceive him without telling him. Now, like nothing, he came to the tent of Agamemnon:

Long wait for the campaign, the soldiers grumble! Towards him comes Clytemnestra and welcomes him as a future son-in-law. Achilles in perplexity, Clytemnestra – too; Is there no deception here? And the old slave reveals to them a deception: and intent against Iphigenia, and the agony of Agamemnon, and his intercepted letter. Clytemnestra in despair: she and her daughter are trapped, the whole army will be against them, one hope is for Achilles, because he is deceived just like they are! “Yes,” replied Achilles, “I will not stand for the king to play my name like a robber with an ax, I am a warrior, I obey the boss for the good of the cause, but I refuse obedience in the name of evil, whoever touches Iphigenia will deal with me!” ” The choir sings a song in honor of Achilles, remembers the happy wedding of his father with the sea goddess Thetis – so unlike the current bloody wedding of Iphigenia.

Achilles went to his warriors; instead, Agamemnon returns: “The altar is ready, it’s time for sacrifice” – and sees that his wife and daughter already know everything. “Are you preparing a sacrifice for your daughter?” Asks Clytemnestra, “will you pray for a happy journey, and for a happy return, to me, from whom you take your innocent daughter for the libertine Helen to her sisters and brother who will shy away from your bloody hands “And you will not even be afraid of the right vengeance?” “Pity, Father,” Iphigenia conjures, “it’s so joyful to live, and it’s so scary to die!” “What is scary and what’s not terrible, I know myself,” Agamemnon replies, “but here in the arms is the whole of Greece, so that the strangers do not dishonor her wives, and for her I do not regret either my blood or yours.” He turns and leaves; Iphigenia plaintively mourns his fate,

Achilles returns: the warriors already know everything, the whole camp is boiling and requires the princess to be sacrificed, but he, Achilles, will defend her at least one against all. “If you’re talking about the fate and honor of the whole of Greece – let me be her savior! The truth is stronger than death – I’ll die for the truth, and men and the wives of Greece will honor me. ” Achilles in admiration, Clytemnestra in desperation, Iphigenia sings a jubilant song for the glory of the bloodthirsty Artemis and goes to death with these sounds.

Here the tragedy of Euripides breaks off. Then the ending followed – in the height appeared Artemis and announced to the suffering Clytemnestra that her daughter would be saved, and the deer would die under the knife. Then came the messenger and told Clytemnestra that he saw when the sacrifice was performed: the rite of the ceremony, the torments of Agamemnon, the last words of Iphigenia, the priest’s blow, the cloud above the altar, and the wind that finally sank the sails of the Greek ships. But this ending was preserved only in the late alteration; how Clytemnestra responded, how the fatal thought of revenge on her husband was born in her heart, we do not know.

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“Iphigenia in Aulis” Euripides in brief summary