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. Give back my bow, boy, give it up.
Odysseus
  1. That he shall never do, even if he wished to. And, what is more, you must come along with it, or my men will bring you by force.
Philoctetes
  1. Me, you basest and boldest of scoundrels,
  2. they will take me by force?
Odysseus
  1. Unless you come of your own free will.
Philoctetes
  1. O Lemnos, and you all-conquering flame kindled by Hephaestus, will you indeed endure it that this man should take me from your domain by force?
Odysseus
  1. Zeus it is, I tell you, Zeus, who rules this land,
  2. and it is by Zeus that these actions are decreed. I am his servant.
Philoctetes
  1. Hated creature, what clever pleading you devise! By sheltering yourself behind the gods, you make the gods liars.
Odysseus
  1. No, but true prophets. Now our march must begin.
Philoctetes
  1. Never!
Odysseus
  1. Now, I say. You must obey.
Philoctetes
  1. Ah, misery! Clearly, then, my father sired me to be a slave and no free man.
Odysseus
  1. Not so, but to be the peer of the best and bravest, with whom you are destined to take Troy and force it to the ground.
Philoctetes
  1. No, never—even if I must suffer every torment,
  2. so long as I have this island’s steep cliffs beneath me!
Odysseus
  1. What do you plan to do?
Philoctetes
  1. Throw myself now from the rock and shatter my head on the rocks below!
Odysseus
  1. Quick, seize him, both of you! Do not give him the chance!
Philoctetes
  1. O my arms, what shames you suffer for lack of your cherished