Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Master of Arts




Brown, Christopher G.


The themes of peitho (persuasion), dolos (trickery), and bia (violence or physical force) are central to the action of the three late Euripidean tragedies that I explore: Iphigenia in Tauris, Iphigenia in Aulis, and the Bacchae. I examine how these themes influence characters' interpersonal relations, drive plot development, and determine the "mood" of each play in terms of a spectrum from optimism to pessimism.

Summary for Lay Audience

I examine three plays by the Ancient Greek tragedian Euripides (ca. 480-406 BC), each of them written during the later stages of his career: Iphigenia in Tauris (ca. 412 BC), Iphigenia in Aulis, and the Bacchae (both produced posthumously in 405 BC). I explore in particular the themes of persuasion, deception, and violence as means by which characters achieve - or seek to achieve - their goals. I argue that characters' success (or lack thereof) in using these methods offer insight into Euripides' complex and possibly ambiguous views of humanity's goodness in the decade preceding Athens' calamitous defeat in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC).