Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
When the Greek invasion force, destined for Ilium, was unable to sail from Aulis because of a lack of wind, Agamemnon, the Greek commander, appealed to Calchas, a Greek seer, for aid. Calchas said that unless Agamemnon gave Iphigenia, his oldest daughter, as a sacrifice to Artemis, the Greek fleet would never sail. By trickery Agamemnon succeeded in bringing Clytemnestra, his queen, and Iphigenia to Aulis, where the maiden was offered up to propitiate the goddess. At the last moment, however, Artemis substituted a calf in Iphigenia’s place and spirited the maiden off to the barbaric land of Tauris, where she is now doomed to spend the rest of her life as a priest of Artemis. One of Iphigenia’s duties is to prepare Greek captives—any Greek apprehended in Tauris is by law condemned to die—for sacrifice in the temple of the goddess.
Iphigenia has been a priest in Tauris for many years when, one night, she has a dream that she interprets to mean that her brother Orestes had met his death; now there can be no future for her family, for Orestes was the only son.
Orestes, however, is alive; in fact, he is actually in Tauris. After he and his sister Electra murdered their mother to avenge their father’s death at her hands, the Furies pursued Orestes relentlessly. Seeking relief, Orestes is told by the Oracle of Delphi that he must procure a statue of Artemis that stands in the temple of the goddess in Tauris and take it to Athens. Orestes...
(The entire section is 1071 words.)
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