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. It cannot be that offense at my sickness has persuaded you not to take me aboard your ship?
Neoptolemus
  1. All is offense when a man has abandoned his true nature and does what does not suit him.
Philoctetes
  1. But you, at least, are not departing from your begetter’s
  2. example either in word or deed, when you help a man who is noble.
Neoptolemus
  1. I shall be found to have no honor—this is the thought that long torments me.
Philoctetes
  1. Not because of your present deeds, at least. But because of your words, I worry.
Neoptolemus
  1. O Zeus, what shall I do? Must I be twice found base—by disloyal silence, as well as by shameful speech?
Philoctetes
  1. Unless I am lacking in judgment, he means to betray me, leave me behind and sail away!
Neoptolemus
  1. Leave you? No, not I. Rather, to your pain, I will bring you along. That is my torment.
Philoctetes
  1. What do you mean, son? I do not understand.
Neoptolemus
  1. I will conceal nothing. You must sail to Troy, back to the Achaeans and the forces of the Atreids.
Philoctetes
  1. Ah, no! What have you said?
Neoptolemus
  1. Do not wail in grief, before you understand!
Philoctetes
  1. Understand what? What do you intend to do to me?
Neoptolemus
  1. Save you, first, from this misery, and then,
  2. together with you, go and plunder Troy’s plains.
Philoctetes
  1. And this is your true intent?
Neoptolemus
  1. A harsh necessity governs these events, so do not be angered at hearing of them.
Philoctetes
  1. I am destroyed—ah, misery!—betrayed! What have you done to me, stranger? Return my bow at once!
Neoptolemus
  1. No, it is not possible. My duty and my interest alike constrain me to obey those in power.