Iphigenia in Tauris


Euripides. The Plays of Euripides, Translated into English Prose from the Text of Paley. Vol. II. Coleridge, Edward P., translator. London: George Bell and Sons, 1891.

  1. but others were not persuaded by the law, and drove me always in vagabond courses until I came to the holy plain of Phoebus in turn. Stretched out before his shrine and fasting, I swore to break off my life and die there,
  2. if Phoebus, who had destroyed me, did not save me. And then Phoebus cried out a golden voice from the tripod, and sent me here, to get the image Zeus hurled down, and set it up in Athena’s land. But what he marked out for my safety
  3. you must help me with; for if we possess the statue of the goddess, I will be released from madness and will put you on my ship of many oars and establish you again in Mycenae. But, my beloved sister, save our father’s house and save me;
  4. for so I perish and all the race of Pelops, unless we take the heavenly image of the goddess.
Chorus Leader
  1. A terrible anger from the gods has boiled up against the race of Tantalus and drives them through torments.
  1. Before you came here, I was eager
  2. to be in Argos and see you, my brother. Your wish is mine: to release you from torment, and restore our father’s afflicted house, for I am not angry at the one who killed me; it is my wish. I would set my hand free from your slaughter
  3. and save our house. But I worry about concealment from the goddess and the king, when he finds the stone pedestal empty of the statue. How will I escape death? What argument will I have? But if this one thing happens all together,
  4. that you take the statue and bear me away on your lovely ship, the venture is a noble one. If I am separated from this, I am lost, but you might settle your affairs well and have a safe return. Indeed, I do not shrink from it, not even if I must die
  5. to save you. No, for when a man dies and is gone from the home, he is longed for; but women are powerless.
  1. I would not be the murderer of you as well as my mother; her blood is enough; I would rather have an equal share of life or death, in common with you.
  2. I will bring you home, if I myself escape from here, or if I die, I will remain here with you. Listen to what I think: if Artemis were hostile to this, how could Loxias have prophesied that I would take the statue of the goddess to Pallas’ city . . .
  3. and see your face. Putting all these things together, I have hope of our return.
  1. But how may we live, and take what we want? For our return home suffers from this; but the will is present.
  1. Could we murder the king?
  1. A fearful suggestion, for foreigners to kill their host!
  1. But we must dare it, if it brings our safety.
  1. I could not; yet I approve your eagerness.
  1. What if you were to hide me secretly in the shrine?
  1. So that we might take advantage of the darkness and escape?