“Iphigenia” of Racine in brief summary

The action takes place in Aulis, in the camp of Agamemnon. The yearning king awakens the faithful servant of Arkas. He is extremely surprised by the dejected kind of his master: the descendant of the gods Agamemnon favors in everything – not without reason his daughter wants to marry the unshakable warrior Achilles, the most important of the Greek heroes. Iphigenia will soon arrive with her mother in Aulis, where the wedding ceremony is to be performed. The tsar is crying, and Arkas is frightened to ask if any misfortune has happened to his children or his wife. Agamemnon, in response, exclaims that he will not allow the death of his daughter. alas, he made a terrible mistake, but firmly intends to correct it. When an unprecedented calm pinned down the Greek ships in the harbor, the brothers of Atrida turned to the priest Kalkhas and he shouted the will of the gods: the Greeks should sacrifice the young virgin, in whose veins the blood of Elena flows – the path to Troy will

be closed, until Iphigenia ascends to the altar of Diana. Shocked Agamemnon was ready to enter into a fight with an insidious fate and abandon the campaign, but the cunning street managed to convince him. Pride and vanity overpowered the parental pity: the king agreed to a terrible sacrifice, and, in order to lure Iphigenia and Clytemnestra to Aulis, resorted to deception-wrote a letter on behalf of Achilles, who at that time marched against his father’s enemies. The hero has already returned, but the king does not frighten his anger, but the fact that Iphigenia flies in a happy ignorance towards his love – to his death. Only a dedicated Arkas can prevent trouble: you need to intercept the women on the road and tell them that Achilles wants to postpone the wedding and that Erifila is a prisoner taken from Lesbos. No one should know the true background, otherwise the Achaeans will revolt against the cowardly king,

In the tent of Agamemnon are Achilles and Ulysses. The young hero, unaware of the trick with the letter, wants to go to the crown with his beloved – in addition, he can not wait to punish

the haughty Ilium. Agamemnon reminds him of the imminent death under the walls of Troy, but Achilles does not want to hear anything: the parks announced to the mother of Thetis that her son is waiting either for a long life in obscurity, or for early death and eternal glory-he chooses the second lot. the streets listened with satisfaction to these fervent speeches: in vain Agamemnon was afraid that Achilles would prevent the sacrifice, without which a long-awaited campaign would not take place. Guessing the king’s dismay, Ulysses rebukes him for apostasy: in due time it was Agamemnon who forced the fiancées of Elena to swear that they would become her faithful defenders-the Achaeans left their homes, their beloved wives and children only for the sake of Menelaus’s scorned honor. The king angrily responds that it is easy to talk about the greatness of the soul when someone else’s blood flows – it is unlikely that Ulysses would have shown such steadfastness with regard to his own son Telemak. Nevertheless, the word will be restrained if Iphigenia arrives in Aulis. Perhaps the gods do not want her to die: she might have lingered on the way or her mother ordered her to stay in Argos. The king cuts short when he sees his servant Euribat, who reports that the queen arrived, although the wedding train had lost his way and had been straying in the dark forest for a long time. With Clytemnestra and Iphigenia, a young captive of Eryphilus is traveling, who wants to ask the priest of Kalkhas about his fate. The Greek army rejoices, greeting the family of the beloved tsar. Agamemnon in horror – now the daughter is doomed. Ulysses, guessing about the trick of the king, tries to comfort him: such is the will of the gods, and mortals can not be grumbled at them.

The Captive of Eryphylus reveals the soul to the confidante of Dorin. Fate pursues her from infancy: she does not know her parents, and it was predicted that the secret of birth will be revealed to her only in the hour of death. But the most difficult test is waiting for her ahead – this is the wedding of Iphigenia and Achilles. Erifila admits to the amazed Dorin that she fell in love with the hero who took away her freedom and maiden honor – this bloody villain conquered her heart, and only for her sake she went to Aulis. After seeing Agamemnon with her daughter, Erifila steps aside. Iphigenia gropes to his father, trying to understand the cause of his apparent embarrassment and coldness. The king hurries to leave, and Iphigenia shares her anxieties with Eryphila: the father is sad, and the bridegroom does not show his eyes – perhaps he now thinks only of war. An enraged Clytemnestra enters with a letter in her hand. The intentions of Achilles have changed: he suggests postponing the wedding – this behavior is unworthy of the hero. The tsar’s daughter should not expect mercy from him, so both of them must immediately leave the camp. Eryphila can not hide her joy, and Iphigenia suddenly guesses why the captive so sought to Aulis – the reason for this is not Kalkhas, but the love of Achilles. Now everything became clear – both the dejected look of his father, and the absence of the groom. At this moment, Achilles himself appears, and Iphigenia proudly announces to him about his immediate departure. Amazed Achilles turns to Erifil for explanations: he was so eager to see the bride, although Agamemnon insisted that his daughter would not come – why did Iphigenia avoid him and what did Ulysses mean? If someone decided to play a trick on him, he will repay the offender in full. Erifila is struck to the heart: Achilles loves Iphigenia! But not everything is lost:

Clytemnestra pours out her grievances to Agamemnon: she and her daughter were ready to leave, but then Achilles was alarmed and begged them to stay – he vowed to avenge the despicable slanderers who accused him of betraying Iphigenia. Agamemnon readily acknowledges that he has in vain relied on false witness. He personally takes his daughter to the altar, but the queen should not be shown in the camp, where everything breathes a presentiment of bloodshed. Clytemnestra is stunned – it is only for her mother to transfer her daughter to the hands of the groom. Agamemnon is unshakable: if the queen does not want to listen to the request, let her obey the order. As soon as the king leaves, the happy Achilles and Iphigenia appear. The princess asks the bridegroom to grant freedom to Eryphile at this joyous time for both of them, and Achilles readily promises.

The faithful Arkas was instructed to take Iphigenia to the altar. The servant gave a vow to keep silent, but can not stand it and informs about the destiny of the princess. Clytemnestra falls at the feet of Achilles, begging to save her daughter. The hero, shocked by the humiliation of the queen, swears to strike anyone who dares to raise his hand to Iphigenia – the king will have to answer for his deception. Iphigenia begs the bridegroom to humble her anger: she will never judge a beloved father, and in everything will submit to his will-of course, he would save her if it were in his power. Achilles can not hide the insult: does her father, who condemns her to death, is more dear to her than those who came out to defend her? Iphigenia humbly retorts that she loves her dearer than life: she met the news of the near death without fainting, but almost lost her senses after hearing a false rumor about his betrayal. Probably, with her immense love for him, she became angry with heaven. Erifila, left alone with Dorin, bubbles with rage. How frightened Achilles was frightened for Iphigenia! She will never forgive her opponent, and then all the means are good: Agamemnon, apparently, did not lose hope of saving his daughter and wants to disobey the gods – this blasphemous plan needs to be notified to the Greeks. Thus, she will not only avenge her scorned love, but also save Troy – Achilles will never again rise under the banner of the king. Clytemnestra sarcastically welcomes her husband – she now knows what fate he has prepared for his daughter. Agamemnon understands that Arkas did not keep his word. Iphigenia gently comforts her father: she will not disgrace her kind and without fear will put her breast under the sacrificial blade – she is scared only for her beloved, for her mother and for the groom, who do not want to accept such a sacrifice. Clytemnestra announces, that he will not give his daughter and will fight for her, as a lioness for her child. If Menelaus longs to embrace an unfaithful wife, let him pay with his own blood: he also has a daughter – Hermione. Mother takes Iphigenia, and Achilles rushes into the royal tent. He demands explanations: he heard a strange, shameful rumor to his ears – that Agamemnon decided to kill his own daughter. The king arrogantly answers that he does not owe Achilles a report and is free to dispose of the fate of his daughter. For this sacrifice, Achilles can blame himself as well – was not he the most eager for the walls of Troy? The young hero in a rage exclaims that he does not want to hear about Troy, who did him no harm – he gave a vow of fidelity to Iphigenia, and not Menela! Irritated Agamemnon is already ready to condemn the daughter to the slaughter – otherwise people might think that he was afraid of Achilles. However, pity takes precedence over vanity: the king tells his wife and daughter to leave Avelida in the strictest secrecy. Erifila hesitates for a moment, but jealousy is stronger, and the captive decides to tell Kalkhasa everything.

Iphigenia again in the Greek camp. All ways for escape are closed. Her father forbade her to even think about the groom, but she dreams of seeing him for the last time. Is Achilles full of determination: he orders the bride to follow him – henceforth she must obey her husband, and not her father. Iphigenia refuses: death kills her less than dishonor. She swears to hit herself with her own hand – the royal daughter will not obediently wait for the blow. Distressed by the grief of Clytemnestra, she curses the Erifil who betrayed them-the night itself did not spew the more terrible monster! Iphigenia is taken away, and soon Clytemnestra hears thunderous rumblings – this Kalkhas sheds the blood of the gods on the altar! Arkas resorts with the news that Achilles broke through to the altar with his people and set up protection around Iphigenia – now the priests can not approach it. Agamemnon, unable to look at the death of her daughter, covered his face with a cloak. At any second, fratricidal slaughter may begin.

Included in the streets, and Clytemnestra screams with horror – Iphigenia is dead! The streets respond that the blood was spilled on the altar, but her daughter is alive. When the whole Greek army was ready to rush to Achilles, the priest Kalkhas suddenly shouted about the new sign: this time the gods accurately indicated the victim – that Iphigenia that was born to Elena from Theseus. Persecuted by her terrible fate, the girl arrived in Aulis under a false name – as a slave and captive Achilles. Then the soldiers lowered their swords: although many felt sorry for Princess Eryfil, everyone agreed with the verdict. But Kalkhas failed to hit Elena’s daughter: with a contemptuous look at him, she pierced her breast with her sword. At that moment, the immortal Diana appeared on the altar, a clear sign that the supplications of the Achaeans had reached heaven. After hearing this story, Clytemnestra raises a warm gratitude to Achilles.

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“Iphigenia” of Racine in brief summary