Le nozze interrotte di Ifigenia da Racine a Euripide


  • Tristan Alonge


Iphigenia’s disrupted wedding from Racine to EuripidesThe present paper aims to propose a new interpretation of Iphigeniain Aulis, by showing that XVIIth century French dramatist Jean Racineidentified in his own version the secret of Euripides’ play. Racine hasfollowed his Greek mentor and has turned upside down the legend inorder to put Iphigenia and not Agamemnon at the center. By giving herthe choice between escaping death with her lover Achilles and sacrificingherself for her father, Racine has put the accent on the crazy obeisanceof a daughter, which becomes the real theme and which hides aneven more powerful tragedy, the one of a girl who refuses to grow up. However, Racine did not invent anything, he just developed a themealready hidden in Euripides’ text. The Athenian playwright had beenthe first one who created a perfectly coherent figure (in spite of Aristotle’sview), whose coherence was given by the obeisance to the father.If Iphigenia suddenly transformed herself into a soldier, it was only toplease Agamemnon and to remain an obedient daughter.By highlighting this familiar aspect of Euripides’s play, Racine contributesto better understand the legend and the Euripidean rewriting of thestory of Iphigenia, which becomes the story of the impossible growth ofa daughter, whose wedding is voluntarily disrupted while the prenuptialrite of protéleia was intended to deliver her from Artemis’ hold. As suggestedby the final rescue, she will remain for the rest of her life under theGoddess’ control, in an endless and tragic state of infancy and minority.