Sacrifice in Literature Book Review by writingsensation

Sacrifice in Literature
This paper examines the motif of sacrifice in Pedro Calderon de la Barca's "Life's a Dream", Euripides' "Iphigeneia at Aulis" and Toni Morrison's" Beloved".
# 68852 | 1,245 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2005 | US
Published on Sep 14, 2006 in English (Analysis) , Literature (Comparative Literature)

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This paper explains that the motif of sacrifice, especially the sacrifice of one's offspring, in Pedro Calderon de la Barca's "Life's a Dream", Euripides' "Iphigeneia at Aulis" and Toni Morrison's" Beloved" is contrasted starkly in each story with respect to the moral codes of their times. The author points out that, unlike the moral paradox in the story of Abraham and Isaac, there is no such paradox in these stories because the individuals within these novels are elementally human and not morally infallible. The paper relates that the sacrifice, in all of three stories, is performed with insufficient information and not wholly from a rational point of view; however, all three authors tend to suggest that the judgment of right or wrong is inconsequential because all that matters are the emotions people feel pulling them in one direction or another.

From the Paper:

"Iphigeneia at Aulis" holds true to this theme in that, unlike the Iliad, it depicts entirely ordinary humanity collaboratively bringing about its own destruction. Agamemnon is no divine hero; he is a mortal man who finds himself in an impossible situation. Kalchas assures him, Odysseus and Menelaos that the sacrifice of his daughter, Iphigeneia, will permit their safe passage to Troy. The obvious forces in opposition to one another are Agamemnon's responsibilities to his people and the alliance, and his responsibilities as a father. The legitimacy of the prophecy is not truly in question, only Agamemnon's individual obligations. Although he calls for his daughter, he immediately admits, "What I have done is wrong and I want to undo it." (Euripides, 143-4)."

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