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- The Iphigenia in Tauris - 17/17 -


thought of Iphigenia's happy voyage to Greece and freedom; then a dream-like longing to fly home, to watch the dances where once she danced for the prize of beauty.

P. 67, 1. 1156, Iphigenia enters, carrying the Image.--It would probably be a sort of Palladion--a rough figure with a shield (originally typifying the moon?), not very large. She would probably hold it in a robe of some sort, that her bare hand might not touch a thing so holy. At sight of Thoas she would probably cover it up altogether. It is not quite clear when she puts the image down.

P. 67, 1. 1161, I unsay that word.--It was a bad omen for Thoas to say at so critical a moment that a rule was broken. The priestess declares the word unsaid--just the opposite of "accepting" an omen.--Dr. Verrall, however, suggests to me that the line means, "I ask Hosia (the spirit of Holiness) to take in charge what I am going to say"; i.e. all the falsehoods into which she is about to plunge.

This scene of the fooling of Thoas is full of wit and double meanings. The end of it is rather like the famous scene in Forget- me-not, where the Corsican avenger is induced to turn his back in order to let a lady pass out of the room without being seen and compromised, the lady in question being really the person whom he has sworn to kill.

P. 72, 11. 1203 ff.--This change of metre denotes increasing tension of excitement.

Each individual invention of Iphigenia seems clearly to have its purpose. She wants to combine a great appearance of precaution against the escape of the strangers--hence the soldiers, the bonds, &c.--with the greatest possible reality of precaution against any one preventing their escape: hence she takes the soldiers without an officer, the townsfolk are forbidden to follow or even to look, and the King is left at the Temple. The exact motive of all the veiling I do not see; perhaps it adds to the effect to represent Thoas as deliberately hiding his eyes while he is deceived. But in any case her precautions all seem sound according to ancient theology.

P. 77, 11. 1235, 1282, Oh, fair the fruits of Leto blow, &c.--A curious and rather difficult little ritual hymn explaining how Apollo came from Delos to Delphi. It acts more as an interlude than anything else, to fill the time until we learn the issue of the attempt at escape.

All Delphi originally belonged to Mother Earth. The oracles were given by her daughter Themis, and the place guarded by an ancient earth-born Dragon. Apollo came, slew the Dragon, and turned Themis away. Earth took revenge upon him in a curious manner: she invented Dreams, which told the future freely, though, it would seem, confusedly, and, so to speak, spoiled the trade of Delphi until Apollo appealed to Zeus for protection.--The story is not very creditable to the gods, and is expressly denied by Aeschylus on that ground. According to them there was never any strife; Earth, Themis, Phoebe peacefully succeeded one another at Delphi, and Phoebe gave it as a birth-gift to Phoebus or Apollo.

I think the story is probably a case of the infant Sun slaying the Serpent of darkness. The ancient identification of Phoebus Apollo with the sun and Artemis Hecate with the moon seems to me to withstand all modern criticisms, though of course there are many other elements combined with the Sun and Moon elements.

P. 79, 1. 1284, Messenger.--This excited rush upon the stage of a man clamouring for the King is very clever as a next step in the story. One sees at once the sort of thing that has happened, and wants to know what exactly.

P. 80, 1. 1302, "This good messenger."--There is nothing to tell us what the good messenger is. Probably a large sacred knocker, such as were often on temple doors. (They served for suppliants to catch hold of as well as for summoning the people inside.) But it may be a gong or a horn hanging by the door, or the like.

P. 82, 1. 1325, Aye tell thy tale.--It is perhaps a little awkward that Thoas should ask for the whole story before taking any steps to pursue Iphigenia. But partly he is so amazed that he wants to hear all he can before moving; partly, he is represented as being really sure of his prey, as king of all the Taurian seas.

P. 83, 1. 1350, The prow was held by stay-poles.--The ship was afloat, having been just dragged off the shore, bow forwards. The men were raising the anchor, and holding the prow steady by long punt-poles. The ladder seems to have been a rope-ladder; but the Greek is difficult, and I do not know of any mention of a rope- ladder elsewhere in Greek literature.

P. 84, 1. 1384, The Maid of Argos and the carven wood of Heaven-- Observe how closely Iphigenia and the image are united. She appears with it in her arms; she must fly together with it, or die; she and the image enter the ship together. There is religion behind this. Perhaps there was some old statue of the goddess carrying her own image, as Athena sometimes carries a Palladion; when Iphigenia became the priestess and Artemis the goddess, this was interpreted as the priestess carrying the goddess' image.

P. 85, 1. 1415, There is One who rules the sea.--Poseidon, the sea god, was traditionally a friend of Troy. See the first scene of The Trojan Women.

P. 86, 1. 1435, ATHENA.--Modern readers complain a good deal of this appearance of the God from the Machine. Some day I hope to discuss the Deus ex Machina at length, but in the meantime I would point out the following facts: 1. A theophany or appearance of a god seems to have been in the essence of the original conception of Greek Drama; a study of the fragments of Aeschylus will illustrate this. What Euripides did, apparently, was to invent, or use when invented, an improved kind of stage machinery for introducing the god in the air. 2. The theophany seems to have been effective with the Greek audience, and I believe it would usually be so with any audience that was not highly sophisticated and accustomed to associate such appearances with pantomime fairies. 3. In nearly all cases the god who appears not only speaks lines of great beauty and serenity, but also comes with counsel and comfort which have something of heaven about them. The Dioscori of the Electra are most typical, healing the agony of revenge by sheer forgiveness; the beautiful Artemis of the Hippolytus is different, but divine also. But every case needs its special treatment.

P. 87, 1. 1457, Artemis the Tauropole.--On the rite of Artemis Tauropolos at Halae, see Preface, p. vi. There is a play on words in "Tauropole"; it is interesting to see that Euripides has prepared for it as early as Orestes' first speech, 11. 84 f., though I did not think it worth representing in English there.


The Iphigenia in Tauris - 17/17

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