Philoctetes

Sophocles

Sophocles, creator; Sophocles the plays and fragments with critical notes, commentary, and translation in English prose Part 4 The Philoctetes; Jebb, Richard Claverhouse, Sir, 1841-1905, editor, translator. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1898.

  1. And I myself attest your accusations,
  2. for I know their truth through my own experience with the wickedness of the Atreids and the force of Odysseus.
Philoctetes
  1. What, do you also have a grievance against the accursed sons of Atreus, a cause for anger at some mistreatment?
Neoptolemus
  1. If only I might one day be allowed to fulfill my heart’s rage by the deeds of my hand,
  2. so that Mycenae might learn, and Sparta, that Scyros also is a mother of brave men!
Philoctetes
  1. Well said, son! Now what is the reason that you have come complaining against them with this fierce wrath?
Neoptolemus
  1. I will tell you—and yet it is hard to tell—
  2. the outrage that I suffered from them upon my arrival there. For when fate decreed that Achilles should die—
Philoctetes
  1. Ah, me! Tell me no more, until I first know this—is the son of Peleus dead?
Neoptolemus
  1. Dead—not by a mortal hand, but by a god’s.
  2. He was brought down, as men say, by the arrow of Phoebus.
Philoctetes
  1. Well, noble alike are the slayer and the slain. But I am at a loss to know, son, whether I should first inquire into the wrong done you, or mourn the dead.
Neoptolemus
  1. Your own sorrows, I think, are enough
  2. for you, unhappy man, without mourning for those of your neighbor.
Philoctetes
  1. You speak the truth. Therefore tell me again what happened to you, and how they wronged you.
Neoptolemus
  1. They came for me in a ship elaborately ornamented, shining Odysseus, and he who fostered my father,
  2. and said—whether truly or falsely, I do not know—that since my father had perished, fate now forbade that anyone but I should take the towers of Troy. Saying that this, my friend, was how things stood, they caused me no long delay before I set sail in haste,
  3. chiefly because of my yearning for the dead, that I might look upon him before burial, since I had never seen him. Then, besides, theirs was a fine promise, if by accompanying them I might sack the towers of Troy. It was now the second day of my voyage
  4. when, sped by breeze and oar, I approached bitter Sigeum. When I landed, straightaway the entire army thronged around me with greetings, vowing that they saw their lost Achilles once more alive. He, though, lay ready for burial, and I, unhappy,
  5. when I had wept for him, went before long to the Atreids, to friends, as it was reasonable to suppose,—and claimed my father’s arms and all else that had been his. O, their reply was bold and shameless! Seed of Achilles, you may take all else that was your father’s. But of those arms another man now is lord, the son of Laertes.