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Neoptolemus I abhor acting on advice, son of Laertes, which causes pain in the hearing. It is not in my nature to achieve anything by means of evil cunning, nor was it, as I hear, in my father's.But I am ready to take the man by force and without treachery, since with the use of one foot only, he will not overcome so many of us in a struggle. And yet I was sent to assist you and am reluctant to be called traitor. Still I prefer, my king,to fail when doing what is honorable than to be victorious in a dishonorable manner. Odysseus Son of a father so noble, I, too, in my youth once had a slow tongue and an active hand. But now that I have come forth to the test, I see that the tongue, not action, is what masters everything among men. Neoptolemus What, then, are your orders—apart from my lying? Odysseus I command you to take Philoctetes by deceit. Neoptolemus And why by deceit rather than by persuasion? Odysseus He will never listen; and by force you cannot take him. Neoptole
Chorus Goddess of the hills, Earth all-nourishing, mother of Zeus himself, you through whose realm the great Pactolusrolls golden sands! There, there also, dread Mother, I called upon your name, when all the insults of the Atreids landed upon this man, when they handed over his father's armor, that sublime marvel,to the son of Laertes. Hear it, blessed queen, who rides on bull-slaughtering lions!