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The views of the sophists in Euripides’s “Iphigenia in Tauris”

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2017. Vol. 6. No. 6. Pp. 486-493.
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Yurina E. S.
Saint-Petersburg State University
7-9 Universitetskaya Embankment, 199034 Saint Petersburg, Russia


The author of the article studies the tragedy “Iphigenia in Tauris” by Euripides as a philosophical discourse of the sophists of the the fifth century B. C. The author aims to demonstrate the influence of the sophists on Euripides. Moreover, in this article the problem of the nomos (νόμος) and physis (φύσις) controversy or the controversy of nature and law that was discussed by the sophists in Plato’s dialogues is considered. This controversy is seen in the context of the “Iphigenia in Tauris”, because the controversy of law and nature correlates with the controversy of the law of Tauris and natural law. According to the law of Tauris, every Greek has to be sacrificed by Iphigenia, but Iphigenia has to sacrifice her own brother and it conflicts to the natural law, because a sister cannot kill her own brother. To give a full understanding of the intricate plot of the “Iphigenia in Tauris”, the author studies the fragment of Protagoras about the two-logoi opposing each other and the treatise the “Dissoi logoi” (contrasting arguments). Euripides illustrates the problem of Protagoras’ logoi opposing each other, demonstrating the ambivalence of Iphigenia’s logos. The speeches (logoi) of Iphigenia can be interpreted as false and fatal and at the same time as true and savory. Thus, the author concludes that in the “Iphigenia in Tauris”, Euripides demonstrates the main views of the sophists.


  • • Euripides
  • • Protagoras
  • • Iphigenia in Tauris
  • • nature
  • • law


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