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Iphigenia Rising

A Little Bit Iphy

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Iphy Thoughts

Iphigenia: Achilles

The great warrior Achilles

Would have me fora bride

Just before the wrath of our great families

I know this is a lie.

Golden God boy, shining with the sun

It doesn’t make sense

That I’m the one you picked.

What kind of trick is this?

Perfect man, go sharpen your knife.

I have no greater desire

Than to be your wife.

Smooth steel piercing flesh and bone

Thank the gods for this bit:

You won’t hear me moan.

Please admit this won’t be graceful

There is nothing more impure

Virgin blood will spill

And you’ll have settled your own score

You can try, sweet man, to save me

From this cursed world of men

But as a bright young woman I can tell you

It will happen time and time again

Get your dagger ready

I promise I’ll close my eyes

Or if they remain open

I’ll be looking at the skies

Just know one thing for certain

Right before we start

Of all these terrible people

You’re the one who has my heart.

Iphigenia: Dreams

One dream that visits me often takes me back home. Mother and father, Electra and Orestes are just the way I left them. The whole family wants me back and greets me with tears of joy. 
Mother is ever so grateful to see me alive. She will not have to kill father for sacrificing me.

Father cries the hardest and falls at my feet. He did not kill his daughter after all.
Electra is calm, joyful even. She can quiet herself. She will not have to convince Orestes to kill our mother.
Orestes smiles at me because if I am here, nothing terrible has to happen. He will not have to commit matricide and run from the Furies. 

Eventually, I am left to my own devices, made to wander about the house- my home- seeing everything exactly as I left it, only aged. My clothes, my shoes, all of my belongings that I once cherished now mean nothing. As I sift through possessions, hoping to find something that comforts me, I see shadows move. There is a sense of unease. Despite the fact that my family lives, this house is still haunted. 

I move from room to room, disturbed. The light is wrong. Or is it right and I remember wrong? Or is this something I forgot? A memory that I’ve vanished?
My mother finds me to tell me something very important-

I wake up. I am at Taurus. I serve Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt. My possessions are few and my home is this temple. My father sacrificed me to sail his ships to Troy. My mother murdered my father. My brother murdered my mother. Electra is insane. My family is dead. 

This world is a terrible place and unspeakable things happen to good people. Unfortunately, that process is the only way to make people strong. Once someone has seen so much, there is no unseeing it. A new kind of peace has to be made in order to keep going. 

Even if dreams did come true and I could have my past back, I wouldn’t want it.

Iphigenia: Warrior

“Constrained to voicelessness by the violence of the bit,

she slipped to the ground her saffron robes,

and with darting, pitiful eyes struck each of her sacrificers.”

Agamemnon, lines 226-230, Aeschylus, trans. D. Greene & W. Doniger O’Flaherty

 

They always talk about how fragile I was; what a perfect virgin sacrifice. Agamemnon had this dirty rotten habit of calling me weak. It’s funny because I was always anything but weak. My mother, Clytemnestra was a Spartan woman and my sister Electra, well… most people know about her temperament. Even my brother Orestes was capable of matricide, despite the fact that he needed some coaching in order to do it. And for whatever reason I’m the odd ball in the House of Atreus, weak and fragile amongst the strongest, most violent family members one could hope to have. Somehow despite the wrath flowing through my blood I have been made out to be delicate.

But the stories have it all wrong.

If anything I am just as much a warrior as my father was. It’s sad that my bravery, my sacrifice had to be so that men could reach across the Aegean Sea to steal back a woman who ran away from Greece. Helen had no desire to go back to Menelaus. I was to be gutted like an animal so that my uncle could retrieve my aunt. What a thing to waste bravery on. What a thing to waste the life of one woman to imprison another. But what else would we expect?

I’m not surprised by this unbearable waste just so men can have whatever they want and protect their honor. Ha. They do it all the time. Sometimes I wonder. What would it have been like if Artemis had got her way and stopped the Greeks from ever reaching Troy? I’d still be with my family, for one. My family wouldn’t be dead. Perhaps Achilles would have married me after all. Things are all together more peaceful if women win. But then again, I suppose justice was served eventually. They all followed me to death, one by one, and each of them with the full ability to defend themselves, comfortable in their strength. Not a one was bound and gagged and made to face down a blade with nothing on their side.

None of them could do that. But I did.

 

Iphigenia: The Origin Story

Once upon a time, there was this little thing called the Trojan War. You’re familiar with it, yes?
Before that whole decade-long mess could even get started, the Greeks had to follow Helen across the Aegean Sea to Troy. Unfortunately for them, Agamemnon had angered the goddess Artemis. People are kind of fuzzy on the details of how he offended her. Either he killed a sacred deer, or his troops did. Artemis is the goddess of the hunt, so that’s obviously a no-no. Or he boasted about being a better hunter than Artemis, or his troops did. Also a stupid idea. Anyway, Artemis wasn’t happy, so she sent a contrary wind to the port at Aulis, where the Greeks were preparing to sail from and kept them from leaving for the war.
The only way to get the wind set straight and appease Artemis was for Agamemnon to sacrifice his eldest daughter—me—Iphigenia. So he lied to my mother, Clytemnestra, and told her that I was to marry the great warrior Achilles and that I should come to Aulis at once. My mother bought this lie and we went to Aulis.
Things get muddy.
Some say I find out what’s going to happen to me and beg my father for my life.
Some say I go to the altar unawares and am ambushed at the last second. I don’t even see the dagger that kills me.
Some would like to believe that I go to the altar peacefully, resigned to my fate, a willing sacrifice.
Some think Achilles tries to save me.
Some say Artemis does save me and makes me her high priestess at Tauris.
Some say I am Artemis.
But whatever people say, there is one thing that is true: I go to the altar.
As a bride.
As a sacrifice.
As an act of the gods.
As a woman.
And in order to know what happens, you must come with me. Join me at the altar. Let’s get a little bit Iphy. #daddyissues #thealtar #iphigeniarising #alittlebitiphy

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