Poetics

by

Aristotle

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Iphigeneia Character Analysis

Iphigeneia is a princess in Greek mythology, Orestes’s sister, and a character in Euripides’s Iphigeneia at Aulis and Iphigeneia in Tauris. According to these plays, Iphigeneia is set to be sacrificed, but she escapes. She runs to a foreign country and is made a priestess. Years later, her brother, Orestes, arrives in the foreign country and is set to be sacrificed himself. Before Orestes is killed, both Orestes and Iphigeneia realize they are siblings, and Orestes escapes. Aristotle uses the Iphigeneia several times as an example in Poetics, especially of recognition.

Iphigeneia Quotes in Poetics

The Poetics quotes below are all either spoken by Iphigeneia or refer to Iphigeneia. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Tragedy vs. Epic Poetry  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Poetics published in 1997.
Chapter 8 Quotes

The best recognition of all is that which arises out of the actual course of events, where the emotional impact is achieved through events that are probable, as in Sophocles’ Oedipus and the Iphigeneia (her wish to send a letter is probable). Only this kind does without contrived tokens and necklaces. Second-best are those which arise from inference.

Related Characters: Aristotle (speaker), Oedipus, Iphigeneia, Odysseus, Sophocles, Euripides, Homer, Orestes
Related Symbols: Oedipus Rex
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
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Iphigeneia Character Timeline in Poetics

The timeline below shows where the character Iphigeneia appears in Poetics. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6. Plot: Species and Components
Tragedy vs. Epic Poetry  Theme Icon
Fear, Pity, and Catharsis Theme Icon
...can occur between two characters, although not always at the same time. Aristotle gives Euripides’s Iphigeneia in Tauris as an example, in which both Iphigeneia and Orestes recognize at different times... (full context)
Chapter 8. Other Aspects of Tragedy
Tragedy vs. Epic Poetry  Theme Icon
Imitation  Theme Icon
Component Parts and Balance  Theme Icon
...“consistently inconsistent.” Menelaus in Orestes is an example of “unnecessary badness” in a character, and Iphigeneia in Aulis, when Iphigeneia pleads for her life, is an example of inconsistency. However, in... (full context)
Tragedy vs. Epic Poetry  Theme Icon
Fear, Pity, and Catharsis Theme Icon
Component Parts and Balance  Theme Icon
...by the poet, and this form of recognition is not very artistic either. In the Iphigeneia, Orestes reveals his own identity, but Iphigeneia’s identity is revealed through a letter. “Orestes declares... (full context)
Tragedy vs. Epic Poetry  Theme Icon
Fear, Pity, and Catharsis Theme Icon
Component Parts and Balance  Theme Icon
...the plot—the course of events—and it is probable, as in Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex and the Iphigeneia (Iphigeneia’s letter, Aristotle points out, “is probable”). This is the best kind of recognition because... (full context)