Classical Quarterly 43 (01):1- (1993)
Aeschylus' account of the sacrifice of Iphigeneia in the Agamemnon has elicited an extraordinarily wide range of interpretations–a critical response which, in its veryproductivity, may signal a central aspect of the description itself. While more recent explications have been profitably informed by research in cult and ritual, there remains, I would like to suggest, an important literary possibility which merits consideration, particularly in a text where so much has been shaped from a close and profound engagement with the Homeric tradition. The description of the sacrifice is forcefully carried by enjambement from one stanza into another by the sheer weight, as it were, of the force that crushingly silences, βίαι χαλινν τ᾿ άναύδωι μνει . In the midst of much that is dark and difficult to construe, the composition yields a sudden effusion of colour, a striking trail of saffron. The sense of concealment, of a figure enveloped or enshrouded, which has been suggested by the phrase πέπλοισι περιπετή , opens on to an image of unfolding, the falling spread of a robe caught in itsflow towards the ground, κρόκου βαφάς δ ς πέδονχέουσα
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