Electra

Sophocles

Sophocles, creator; Sophocles the plays and fragments with critical notes, commentary, and translation in English prose Part 6 The Electra; Jebb, Richard Claverhouse, Sir, 1841-1905, editor, translator. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1894.

  1. So now take your choice: be imprudent, or be prudent, but forgetful of your friends. You have just said that if could you find the strength, you would show your hatred of them; yet, when I am doing my utmost to avenge our father,
  2. you do not work with me, but seek to deflect your sister from her deed.Does this not add cowardice to our miseries? Therefore instruct me, or rather learn from me what gain there might be for me if I ended my lamentation. Am I not now alive? Miserably so, I know, but well enough for me.
  3. And I hurt them, and thereby affix an honorable tribute to the dead, in case those in that world can enjoy it and feel gratitude. But you, who tell me of your hatred, hate in word alone, while by your behavior you unite with the murderers of our father. I, however, would never yield to them, not even if
  4. one of them were to bring to me the gifts in which you now glory. Let yours be the richly-spread table and superabundant lifestyle. As for me, let my sustenance be only that I do not wound my own conscience—I do not covet such privilege as yours and
  5. neither would you, if you had self-control. But now, when you could be called the child of the noblest father among men, be called instead your mother’s daughter, for in this way your corruptness will be evident to the greatest number as you betray your dead father and your true friends.
Chorus
  1. Away with anger, for the gods’ sake! There is
  2. advantage for both of you in what is urged, if you, Electra, would learn to implement her advice, and she, again, yours.
Chrysothemis
  1. For my part, friends, I am not at all unaccustomed to her insults, nor would I have mentioned this, if I had not heard that the greatest disaster is now rushing down on her,
  2. one which will restrain her from her long mourning.
Electra
  1. Come then, name this terror! If you can tell me of anything worse than my present condition, I would resist no more.
Chrysothemis
  1. I will tell you all that I know. If you will not cease from your mourning, they intend
  2. to send you where you will never look upon the sun’s brilliance, but passing your life in a covered chamber beyond this land’s borders you will make hymns of your calamity. Think on this, and do not blame me later, when you suffer. Now is the time to think wisely.
Electra
  1. Have they in fact decided to do this to me?
Chrysothemis
  1. They certainly have, as soon as Aegisthus comes home.
Electra
  1. Then for this, may he arrive quickly!
Chrysothemis
  1. Troubled girl, what curse are you laying on yourself?
Electra
  1. That he may come, if he plans to do any of what you said.
Chrysothemis
  1. So that you may suffer? In what way? Where are your wits?
Electra
  1. So that I may fly as far as possible from you all.
Chrysothemis
  1. Have you no care for the life you lead now?