Eumenides

Aeschylus

Aeschylus, creator; Aeschylus with an English translation Vol II. Smyth, Herbert Weir, 1857- 1937, editor, translator. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd.: 1926.

  1. Through your oracle, you directed the stranger to kill his mother.
Apollo
  1. Through my oracle, I directed him to exact vengeance for his father. What of it?
Chorus
  1. And then you agreed to take the fresh blood on yourself.
Apollo
  1. And I ordered him to turn for expiation to this house.
Chorus
  1. And do you then rebuke us, the ones who escorted him here?
Apollo
  1. Yes, for you are not fit to approach this house.
Chorus
  1. But this has been assigned to us—
Apollo
  1. What is this office of yours? Boast of your fine privilege!
Chorus
  1. We drive matricides from their homes.
Apollo
  1. But what about a wife who kills her husband?
Chorus
  1. That would not be murder of a relative by blood.
Apollo
  1. Then truly you dishonor and bring to nothing the pledges of Hera, the Fulfiller, and Zeus.[*](In connection with marriage, Hera was τελεία, as Zeus was τέλειος; and the adjective applies also to him here. The ancients derived τέλειος (of marriage) from τέλος meaning rite, consummation. Inasmuch as τέλος often has the sense supreme authority, full power, some modern scholars hold that Hera τελεία is Hera the Queen, Hera the Wife.)
  2. Cypris too is cast aside, dishonored by this argument, and from her come the dearest things for mortals. For marriage ordained by fate for a man and a woman is greater than an oath and guarded by Justice. If, then, one should kill the other and you are so lenient
  3. as not to punish or visit them with anger, I claim that you unjustly banish Orestes from his home. For I see you taking the one cause very much to heart, but clearly acting more leniently about the other. But the goddess Pallas will oversee the pleadings in this case.
Chorus
  1. I will never, never leave that man!
Apollo
  1. Pursue him then and get more trouble for yourself.
Chorus
  1. Do not cut short my privileges by your words.
Apollo
  1. I would not take your privileges as a gift.
Chorus
  1. No, for in any case you are called great at the throne of Zeus.
  2. But as for me—since a mother’s blood leads me, I will pursue my case against this man and I will hunt him down. Exeunt.