The ancient tradition of Troy stories generally blames a woman, Helen of Troy, for being the direct cause of the war, whether she ran off with Paris willingly, or was taken away by force. It is not surprising that the story of Iphigenia involves sacrificing an innocent young woman, so that her father Agamemnon can sail off to Troy to recover Helen, the wife of his brother Menelaus. In some variants, Iphigenia is rescued from the altar by the goddess Artemis and whisked away to the land of Tauris to serve as Artemis' priestess. In the fifth century BCE, Euripides wrote Iphigenia in Tauris, telling of Iphigenia's bitter life as a priestess in the land of Tauris, where she was required to sacrifice any passing strangers at the orders of Thoas, King of Tauris.
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German Literature. Search this site. Navigation Home. Guide Books. Parallel Texts. Hall of Fame. Early Modern. Web Links. Iphigenie auf Tauris ; Iphigenia in Tauris is written in blank verse unrhymed iamblic pentameters.
The heroine, Iphigenie, is the sister of Orestes and the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. Iphiginie was about to be sacrificed by her father Agamemnon, the commander of the Greeks, because the oracle told him that this was the only way to calm the weather so that the Greeks could sail to Troy.
Back in Greece, Agamemnon returned home from the Trojan War only to be murdered by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover, Aegisthus.
Now he is pursued by the revenging Furies, three monstrous women who punish guilt with a whip made of scorpions. The oracle of Apollo at Delphi has told Orestes that the only way to escape from the Furies is to steal the statute of Diana from Tauris.
In the original version by Euripedes, Orestes is freed from his guilt by a god Apollo , and the Greeks are forced to betray Thoas, the King of the Taureans, and steal his statue. This is emblematic for the play as a whole, which suggests that wounds can only start to heal once the truth has been told.
Iphigenie auf Tauris is therefore a drama of civilization. Iphigenie is an idealist in the best sense of the word.
She is not deluded about reality: she knows that people often treat each other brutally, but she is determined to improve them by telling them the truth. In Act One , in her opening monologue, Iphigenie declares her homesickness for Greece, and compares the fates of men and women lines Arkas reminds her that she has helped to end the custom of sacrificing strangers to the goddess Diana, and that she also has a good influence on King Thoas, whose rule has grown milder.
Thoas appears and repeats his proposal of marriage to Iphigenie. She refuses and in order to make him desist, she reveals that she is descended from Tantalus who was punished by the gods for his cruel deeds; her family is cursed. Thoas still wants to marry her and in order to pressurize her, he says he will reintroduce the custom of human sacrifice, starting with the two strangers who have just arrived on the island.
They have come to Tauris in order to steal the statue of Diana. Pylades meets Iphigenie. Iphigenie reveals her identity to him and shows him pity. Orest begs her to end his misery by sacrificing him.
Pylades wants Iphigenie to tell Thoas that that the statue must be washed in the sea because it has been tainted by the presence of strangers. Pylades will then prepare a ship for them to escape. Iphigenie does not want to deceive Thoas and steal the statue, but Pylades insists that deceit is necessary.
She convinces Thoas that she is telling the truth, but Thoas insists that he will not let the Greeks take the statue of Diana. Iphigenie persuades Thoas to let her and Orest leave in peace.
She also asks Thoas for his blessing. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Iphigenia in Tauris , trans. Essays in Honour of Nicholas Boyle , ed. Stefan Matuschek ed. Texte von Aischylos bis Volker Braun. Anthologie Leipzig: Reclam, T.
Iphigenie in Tauris
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Iphigenie auf Tauris
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