Iphigenia in Taurus Themes

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Sacrifice

The theme of sacrifice dominates the play Iphigenia in Taurus. Sacnfice holds a double bind over Iphigenia, in that she was to be sacrificed by her father as homage to Artemis, and was then "rescued" by that goddess, who made Iphigenia serve in her temple, preparing the ritual sacrifice of other Hellenes.

Although human sacrifice was not practiced during the fifth century B.C. in Greece, its symbolic stand-in, animal sacrifice, was integral to Greek religious culture. Animals to be slaughtered were reared with care, promenaded to the altar with dignity, and the sacrifice itself was an occasion of silent solemnity. Only young, beautiful animals were chosen for sacrifice. Their innocence made the offering more valuable and served to intensify the religious experience. Iphigenia was an innocent maiden who thought she was being prepared for a marriage when her father Agamemnon took her to the sacrificial altar. Her...

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This section contains 780 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Iphigenia in Taurus Study Guide
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Drama for Students
Iphigenia in Taurus from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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