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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 456

Iphigenia has one of the most significant quotes in the play, and it is one that suggests it is she, not her father, Agamemnon, who is the true tragic hero at the center of Euripides's drama:

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Death will be my wedding, children, and glory.

Iphigenia is no doubt an innocent wrongly murdered by her father and his ambitions. However, she does not go to her death without courage. She accepts her fate and reframes it as something that will give her name glory and that will protect her people, the Greeks, from destruction in war. This makes her fate the most truly tragic in the play because she rises above her pain and turns it into something ennobling. Her words here prove she is a hero, likely the most heroic character in the play.

Agamemnon is a different sort of tragic figure, as shown in the following quote:

I have lost the use of my reason! My ruin is straight ahead of me.

Here, Agamemnon is responding to the old servant he is sending to fetch his daughter for the sacrifice. He wants to deceive Iphigenia, telling her she is to be married in order to coerce her there. He is using trickery, and the old man criticizes him for this. Agamemnon counters with this reply, revealing his reluctance and anguish.

By saying he has lost his sense of reason, Agamemnon is showing himself as a very human figure. He does not seem to know if what he is doing is entirely right, and the fact that he is resorting to deception to get his daughter to his side illustrates this moral dilemma within him. By saying his ruin is ahead of him, Agamemnon is also saying that even though this decision torments...

(The entire section contains 456 words.)

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