IPHIGENIA AT AULIS: DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
-- . Iphigenia At Aulis
SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
To what extent is Iphigenia at Aulis about war, and what do you think Euripides is saying about war in this play? How is the Trojan War portrayed in the play?
Is there one tragic hero or heroine in this play? If so, who would you highlight here, and why?
Is there a dilemma at the the heart of the play?
How does Euripides portray Agamemnon? Why do you think Agamemnon chose to sacrifice his daughter? What would have happened if he had not done this? To what extent is Agamemnon captive to his office? How would you assess the relationship between family and the state in Iphigenia at Aulis?
What do you think of Iphigenia's decision at the end of the play? What motivates her? What happens later as a consequence of her sacrifice?
Assess the following characters and the role they play in Iphigenia at Aulis: Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Iphigenia, Menelaus, Achilles, Orestes, Calchas, Helen, Odysseus.
How would you describe the relationship between the brothers Agamemnon and Menelaus? Between the husband and wife Agamemnon and Clytemnestra? Between the sisters Clytemnestra and Helen?
Compare and contrast Achilles and Agamemnon.
How would you compare the triangle of Agamemnon, Clytemnestra and Iphigenia in Iphigenia at Aulis to that of Zeus, Demeter and Persephone in the story of the abduction of Persephone? How would you compare and contrast the myth of the sacrifice of Iphigenia to that of the rape and abduction of Persephone?
How does wedding imagery suffuse the play? How would you compare and contrast the wedding of Achilles' parents, which is frequently alluded to the play, and the mock wedding of Achilles and Iphigenia? How is each connected to the Trojan War?
What is the role of the gods in Iphigenia at Aulis? What role does prophecy and the prophet Calchas assume in the play?
How are women, slaves and other subordinates portrayed in the play? Would you describe Iphigenia at Aulis as a feminist play?
What does this play have to say about the Age of Heroes? How would you compare and contrast the Age of Heroes as represented by Euripides with the portrait offered some three centuries earlier by the epic poet Homer?
To what extent are the Greeks contrasted with the Trojans?
In what ways is the mythic backdrop of the Trojan War saga folded into the play? How would you fit the myth of the sacrifice of Iphigenia into the overall Trojan War saga?
How does Euripides portray the Greek Army?
To what extent are there any hints within the play that it was written near the end of a three-decade war between Athens and Sparta? Does Euripides seem to be making any indirect comments about the Peloponnesian War? About democracy?
The last line of the play comes from the Chorus: "In happiness, sons of Atreus, go to the land of Phrygia, and in happiness return, having won from Troy, I pray, spoils most splendid!" Comment. What is the role of the Chorus in this play?
What else do you know about the myth of Iphigenia, beyond what you learned from this one play?
How would you compare and contrast the story of the sacrifice of Iphigenia with the Biblical story of the binding of Isaac?
What do you know about Euripides?
SOME EXTRA SOURCES
Euripides, Iphigenia At Aulis: An on-line edition of the play from MIT's Classics Internet Archive.
Iphigenia At Aulis, Theatre Database:
Iphigenia At Aulis, By Euripides:
C. M. Verster, Iphigenia In Aulis:
Ancient Greece -- Euripides -- Iphigenia At Aulis: A 1-page synopsis of Euripides' tragedy (c. 407 BCE).
George Adam Kovacs, "Iphigenia At Aulis -- Myth, Performance And Reception": A full 2010 University of Toronto Department of Classics Ph.D. Dissertation.
Iphigenia At Aulis:
Iphigenia In Aulis -- Wikipedia: An entry from the on-line encyclopedia.
Iphigenia In Aulis: A concise plot line.
Iphigenia At Aulis -- Cummings Study Guide: Background notes to the play.
Euripides, Iphigenia (1977): A movie adaptation of the myth filmed on location at Aulis. The full movie is shown here on YouTube.
Iphigenia -- Greek Mythology Link:
Iphigenia -- Mortal Women Of The Trojan War:
Iphigenia -- Wikipedia: An entry from the on-line encyclopedia.
Iphigenia -- Mlahanas:
Iphigenia -- Timeless Myths:
Russell Buzby, "Portrayals Of Heroism: Achilles, Agamemnon And Iphigenia," Cross-Sections, 3 (2007).
Aulis -- Wikipedia: An entry from the on-line encyclopedia.
N.S. Gill, "Aulis": Concise historical and mythical information about the Boeotian port.
Euripides -- Theatre Database: A basic biography and a series of links.
Euripides And His Tragedies:
Euripides: A concise overview with a series of associated links.
Euripides Index -- Theatre History: A collection of articles.
Euripides -- Wikipedia: An entry from the on-line encyclopedia.
Euripides -- Ancient Greece: A very brief biography.
Iphigenia In Tauris -- Wikipedia: An entry from the on-line encyclopedia.
Brauronian Artemis -- Myths Of Ancient Greece And Rome:
Links Iphigenia to Brauron, one of the stops on the 2013 Trojan War Field