Dare to believe: wonder, trust and the limitations of human cognition in Euripides’ Iphigenia in Tauris

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Abstract

Euripides’ Iphigenia in Tauris is a tragedy marked by ‘complexities of … mood, tone and design’. It ends happily, comprehensively so, but that very happiness, and above all the way it is brought about, brings with it a nagging question. Should we allow ourselves to be swept along by the wondrous coincidences and benign divine interventions, or is there a disconcerting sense of too-good-to-be-true that should put us on our guard and leave us quizzical more than cheered after the denouement? The play has been read, alternatively, as an escapist fantasy of wish-fulfilment and as a nihilistic exploration of the world’s epistemological opaqueness, both readings supported by forceful arguments, and there are many defensible positions in between.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAncient Theatre and Performance Culture Around the Black Sea
EditorsDavid Braund, Edith Hall, Rosie Wyles
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Chapter14
Pages289-304
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781316756621
ISBN (Print)9781107170599
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

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