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Word Count: 757
Of all the roles assigned to the women of Greek theatre the most prevalent and seemingly most accepted is that of the sacrificial heroine Religion was a cornerstone of Greek mythology and sacrifice was presumably the only way for a female to gain praise that was typically accorded to men Euripides established sacrifice as a motif in his plays and the majority found females in the role of the sacrificed be it as a victim or a champion One of the most coherent examples of womens roles in relation to sacrifice is that of Iphigenias nearness to death the motivations behind it and how she changed from an expendable offering to a martyr beloved by the masses In Iphigenia at Aulis Agamemnon summons his wife and oldest daughter to Aulis- the port where Greek warships are beached in preparation for their departure to Troy on the pretext that he wishes Iphigenia to marry Achilles However Clytemnestra and Iphigenia discover that Agamemnons genuine intentions are to sacrifice Iphigenia to appease the gods after his own error Iphigenia herself tries to persuade her father not to kill her Unlike the chorus of the Agamemnon who reflect not only on the breach of normal family ties but on the inherent delusion and arrogance of Agamemnons actions Iphigenia emphasizes the father-daughter relationship as well as her apparent vulnerability as a woman She embraces him as if she were a child again reminding him that he created her and that killing her will separate her not only from life but from her family But I have only these poor tears to persuade you Dont make me turn my back on all I desire to enter that gloom where nothing is I was the first to call you father and you to call me child 1418 1422-4 Hoping to gain her fathers mercy with sentimental tokens she reminds him of theyre mutual promises of tending to each others needs
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