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. You must, however, say how you killed her.
Orestes
  1. I will say it: with drawn sword in hand, I stabbed her in the throat.
Chorus
  1. By whom were you persuaded and on whose advice?
Orestes
  1. By the oracles of this god here; he is my witness.
Chorus
  1. The prophet directed you to kill your mother?
Orestes
  1. Yes, and to this very hour, I do not blame my fortune.
Chorus
  1. But if the jury’s vote catches hold of you, you’ll soon speak differently.
Orestes
  1. I have good confidence. My father will send protection from his grave.
Chorus
  1. Put your confidence in the dead now, after you have killed your mother!
Orestes
  1. I do, for she was twice afflicted with pollution.
Chorus
  1. How so? Teach the judges this.
Orestes
  1. By murdering her husband, she killed my father.
Chorus
  1. And so, although you are alive, she is free of pollution by her death.[*](She is freed from blood-guiltiness because her blood has been shed.)
Orestes
  1. But why did you not drive her into exile, while she lived?
Chorus
  1. She was not related by blood to the man she killed.
Orestes
  1. Then am I my mother’s kin by blood?
Chorus
  1. How else could she have nurtured you, murderer, beneath her belt? Do you reject the nearest kinship, that of a mother?
Orestes
  1. Apollo, give your testimony now. Explain, on my behalf,
  2. whether I was justified in killing her. For I do not deny that I did it, as it is done. But decide whether this bloodshed was, to your mind, just or not, so that I may inform the court.
Apollo
  1. I will speak justly before you, Athena’s great tribunal,—