Grief and Stress Communication and Management in Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis

grief and stress, communication, management, Euripides, Iphigenia in Aulis


  • Chandima S. M. Wickramasinghe (##journal.primary_contact##)
    Dept. of Classical Languages, Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka


Communication, an essential human trait, is vital to develop a great connectedness among individuals as it helps to understand human mind and emotions. Grief and stress are communicated in different proportions in ancient Greek tragedies, which revolve around a plot that emanates grief. The characters in a Greek tragedy are affected by or are victims of a grieving situation central to the play. Aristotle maintained that tragic action must emanate pity and fear which are connected with grief and stress. Euripides, the revolutionary dramatist of Classical Athens, has empowered his characters to the effect of transmitting their sentiments freely. This feature is notable in his plays such as Alcestis, Electra, Ion, Orestes and Iphigenia in Aulis (IA). In IA, a well-established mythical account is presented as a simple family story. It is not just Iphigenia, who is affected by her impending tragedy. Almost all characters grieve in different proportions, while attempting to manage their grief and stress first by communicating it and then in ways peculiar to themselves. The strategies range from keeping a positive attitude, accepting the situations, to being assertive instead of being aggressive. This study examines the communication of grief and stress as a means of managing such sentiments with especial reference to Iphigenia in Aulis in order to understand how Euripidean tragedy could bring relief to its audience. In the process, the study observes how the dynamics of engagement of a character with others, their feelings, thoughts and intentions can contribute to manage grief and stress through effective communication of such sentiments.