Pelopid History and the Plot of Iphigenia in Tauris

Classical Quarterly 38 (1):98-115 (1988)
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The plot of Iphigenia in Tauris is usually thought to be Euripides' own invention. Its basic assumption can be found in Proclus' summary of the Cypria, viz. that a deer was substituted for Iphigenia during the sacrifice at Aulis and that she herself was removed to the land of the Tauri. Her later rescue by Orestes and Pylades, however, cannot be traced with probability to any work of art or literature earlier than Euripides' play. In this play, in which Orestes recognizes and then saves the sister whom he had long thought dead, it is assumed that her replacement by a deer went unseen by those present at the sacrifice. The sequel which this assumption allowed Euripides to invent is original only in a limited sense, since it bears the imprint of several familiar story types. These types include the following: the murder of a kinsman is narrowly averted by a recognition; a reunion is followed by an intrigue; and a maiden is rescued. Each is used elsewhere by Euripides. The first two, for example, are found in Cresphontes, the second in Electra, and the third in Andromeda. Correspondences of this sort, based on plot patterns, will naturally gain in interest if it can be shown that they throw light on a play's meaning or on the process that led to its creation. The student of dramatic plots, however, soon discovers that analogies between them are easy to draw and can be quickly multiplied.



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Aristotle Poetics.D. W. Lucas - 1968 - The Classical Review 18 (02):168-.
Mythological Paradeigma in the Iliad.M. M. Willcock - 1964 - Classical Quarterly 14 (02):141-.
Sophocles, oinomaos and the east pediment at olympia.William Μ Calder - 1974 - Philologus: Zeitschrift für Antike Literatur Und Ihre Rezeption 118 (1-2):203-214.

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