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Classics Summarized: Iphigenia

So, Agamemnon Let me start this off by presenting my personal opinion on this famous Greek hero (Headphone Warning) F*** this guy!!! All right, now that that’s out of the way let me start from the beginning. Agamemnon is the king of Argos and beyond that his primary defining features is that he’s related to a lot of more important people. His brother, Menelaus. His sister-in-law, Helen of Troy. His son, Orestes. His great grand-daddy, Tantalus. Who’s, well… mostly famous for suffering eternal torment in Hades after trying to feed his own son to Zeus. So yeah, one big happy family? Anyway, Agamemnon currently commands the united Greek armies that are preparing to assault Troy, (More on that later when I tackled the Iliad.) His brother, Menelaus wants his wife Helen back, and is willing to tear Troy down stone by stone to do it. Array Agamemnon is, uh…tagging along for kicks in the spoils of war? But there’s just one problem with this invasion plan. No wind. The wind is stubbornly refusing to blow, which means the vast armada of Greece is effectively landlocked. Because of this the Greek armies are starting to get a little antsy about the no murder in their foreseeable future problem. Luckily for them the friendly neighbourhood oracle has proposed a solution and even better It’s doable with items that can be found in Agamemnon’s own home. All he has to do is murder his daughter Iphigenia. Wait, what?! Yeah… For some reason, the gods have decided not to let the armies advanced unless Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter. Now, alright This is clearly outrageous. Agamemnon’s not even the guy with a reason to go Troy. He’s got nothing at stake. It’s his brother Menelaus that really cares about sacking the place. So, logically you think that Agamemnon would take this as a sign, you know… not to invade Troy. The price is obviously too great, the reward too trivial. Even if he had a good reason he’d have to kill his own daughter to do it?! And there’s nothing you could give a father it would persuade him to kill his own child Of course, by the time you’ve thought that Agamemnon has already sent a letter home telling his wife Clytemnestra to bring Iphigenia to the front at once. Because she’s… uh… Getting married… to Achilles… and not about to be murdered. But immediately after sending the letter Agamemnon has a surprise change of heart he starts to think that maybe dishonourably tricking his wife into sending their daughter to her death might not get him the father and husband of the year award. So, he sends another messenger off with a redacted notice telling Clytemnestra not to bring Iphigenia. Unfortunately, this message is intercepted by Menelaus, who goes and chews out Agamemnon for being unwilling to brutally murder his own daughter. See! One big happy family! Just like I said. And while they’re busy arguing Iphigenia arrives at the camp. Along with her mother, Clytemnestra and her baby brother Orestes (More on him later when I cover The Oresteia.) So, Agamemnon’s now majorly bummed that he pretty much *has* to kill his daughter now that she’s you know… Within convenient stabbing distance. So, Menelaus has a little change of heart and is like, “Dude, just… just send her home.” And Agamemnon’s like, “No!” “There are no take-backsies on God-solicited murder attempts.” “Let’s do this.” So, Agamemnon talks to Clytemnestra about how badass Achilles is and how great it is that their daughter will “totes” be marrying him and, by the way, Achilles doesn’t know that any of this is happening And this becomes clear when he bumps into Clytemnestra who immediately makes the situation awkward and weird by congratulating him on his impending marriage that he has no idea is happening. So, Achilles is like, “Wait, what?!” “I can’t be getting married! What’ll I tell my hetero-life mate Patroclus!” So, clearly, something is up. Clytemnestra and Achilles start trying to figure out what’s going on But they don’t need to look long before They’re paid a visit by the exposition fairy! The messenger from the beginning pops out of nowhere to tell them all about Agamemnon’s murder plan. Clytemnestra, understandably flips out and Achilles gets righteously pissed And, uh, by the way This will not be the last time Achilles gets mad at Agamemnon because of a girl. So, Achilles and Clytemnestra resolved to go save Iphigenia Now, since this is a tragedy we can already guess that this won’t go so well and predictably enough It doesn’t! Clytemnestra confronts Agamemnon about the whole killing their daughter thing and Iphigenia is like, “Dad! What?! Come on!!!” And Agamemnon’s like, “You don’t understand I can’t disappoint my bros!” “They’re all set to go sack Troy.” And at this point turns out that Odysseus, The only smart dude in the entire Greek army, (More on him later) My God! There are a lot of stories about these people. He’s figured out that Iphigenia has to die before They can leave for Troy. As a result the entire army decides to start beating up Achilles until he gives up Iphigenia. Now, Achilles is like 99% indestructible so I don’t know why this bothers him, but apparently it does. So, then Iphigenia is like, “Wait, hang on, hang on,” “Dying actually sounds super rad!” “Like, if my dying is what makes the war begin,” “That’d make me like the most important woman in the whole war, right?!” And Achilles is like, “Well…” “Since Helen’s the whole reason why we’re going to war in the first place,” “You’d, uh…” “You take home the silver medal in the two-person race.” “But sure!” and Iphigenia is like “Then I bravely accept my fate!” Scoots out the door to face the army and proceeds to get murdered by Agamemnon. But hey at least he looked sad while doing it. The winds start to blow, The armies sail off to Troy, and Clytemnestra goes home to spend 10 years plotting her vengeance (More on that when I cover The Oresteia) Music: “Sailing For Adventure” by The Muppets When the course is laid and the anchor’s weighed, A sailor’s blood begins racing. With our hearts unbound and our flag unfurled, “We’re underway and off to see the world!” *Underway and off to see the world!* *Hey, ho, we’ll go anywhere the wind is blowing* “Manly men are we!” Sailing for adventure on the deep blue sea. Safely now Mr. Silver Let’s not get sloppy, just because we’re singing. Danger walks the deck; we say what the heck We laugh at the perils we’re facing “Every storm we ride is its own reward” “And people die by falling overboard!” *People die by falling overboard!* Hey, ho, we’ll go anywhere the wind is blowing Hoist the sails and sing! “Sailing for adventure on the big blue wet thing….” Thank you for watching
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifFsKCrH3GM

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