Iphigénie is a dramatic tragedy in five acts written in alexandrine verse by the French playwright Jean Racine. It was first performed in the Orangerie in Versailles on August 18th1674 as part of the fifth of the royal Divertissements de Versailles of Louis XIV to celebrate the conquest of Franche-Comté. Later in December it was triumphantly revived at the Hôtel deBourgogne, home of the royal troupe of actors in Paris.
With Iphigénie, Racine returned once again to a mythological subject, following a series of historical plays (Britannicus,Bérénice, Bajazet, Mithridate). On the shores at Aulis, the Greeks prepare their departure for an attack on Troy. The gods quell the winds for their journey and demand the sacrifice ofIphigénie, daughter of Agamemnon, King of the Greeks.
As in the original version of the play by Euripides, Iphigenia at Aulis, the morally strongest character in the play is not Agamemnon, apusillanimous leader, but Iphigénie, driven by duty to father and country to accept the will of the gods. In the final sacrificial scene of Euripedes' play, the goddess Artemissubstitutes a deer for Iphigenia, who is swept through the heavens by the gods to Tauris. Based on the writings of Pausanias, Racine decided upon an alternative dramatic solution for the ending:another princess Ériphile is revealed to be the true "Iphigénie" whose life is sought by the gods and thus the tragic heroine of the play is spared.
Although a great success when itwas first produced, Iphigénie is rarely performed today.
* Clytemnestre, wife of Agamemnon
* Iphigénie, daughter ofAgamemnon
* Ériphile, daughter of Helen and Theseus
* Arcas, servant to Agamemnon
* Aegine, lady-in-waiting to Clytemnestre
* Doris, confidante of Ériphile
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