--Mary Zimmerman, Metamorphoses
Soldiers wait on the coast. Drums no longer beat, their vigor lost to stillness. The air refuses to breathe life into the warrior’s sails. No plea will abate its silence. No sacrifice will appease its indifference. The wind obeys its god. Not like men. Men slay hosts without abandon. Futures fall to swords of desire. Death hangs across the bows of ships that will not return from Troy’s shores. And still, men—lusting after blood born of war—strike down the beasts of Artemis. Her fury matches the brightness of her brother’s light. She stays the air of glory, accepting no recompense for her slain treasure. And the Greeks wait. Enticed by promised victory, a thousand faces look on at dreams unable to launch.
In a vengeance forged by Hephaestus’ flames, Artemis extends an offer to man’s general, Agamemnon: the winds will blow and the boats will sail, but only at the price of royal blood. For Agamemnon’s eternal glory to live, his daughter Iphigenia must die. Honor. Glory. Gold. Women. Immortality. Prizes for a daughter’s heart. Agamemnon’s nation calls upon him to lead the way. If he denies them and saves her life, others will overpower him, offering them both to Artemis. War claims its victims. It will always start at home. A daughter’s tears will not beat back ambition. Agamemnon’s knife sinks into Iphigenia’s chest, but it severs the ties of families—Priam’s and his own. Iphigenia’s blood stains the altar’s stone. The winds blow. Troy falls. Agamemnon gets everything he ever wanted. What is a daughter’s life to a father’s immortality?