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Orestes
O Phoebus Apollo! How will the trial be decided?

Chorus
O Night, our dark Mother, do you see this? [745]

Orestes
Now I will meet my end by hanging, or I will live.

Chorus
Yes, and we will be ruined, or maintain our honors further.

Apollo
Correctly count the ballots cast forth, friends, and be in awe of doing wrong in the division of the votes. Error of judgment is the source of much distress, [750] and the cast of a single ballot has set upright a house.The ballots are shown to Athena.

Athena
This man is acquitted on the charge of murder, for the numbers of the casts are equal.Apollo disappears.

Orestes
Pallas, savior of my house! I was deprived of a fatherland, and it is you who have given me a home there again. [755] The Hellenes will say, “The man is an Argive once again, and lives in his father's heritage, by the grace of Pallas and of Loxias and of that third god, the one who accomplishes everything, the savior”—the one who, having respect for my father's death, [760] saves me, seeing those advocates of my mother.

I will return to my home now, after I swear an oath to this land and to your people1 for the future and for all time to come, that no captain of my land [765] will ever come here and bring a well-equipped spear against them. For I myself, then in my grave, will accomplish it by failure without remedy, making their marches spiritless and their journeys ill-omened, [770] so that those who violate my present oath will repent their enterprise. But while the straight course is preserved, and they hold in everlasting honor this city of Pallas with their allied spears, I will be the more well-disposed to them.

And so farewell—you and the people who guard your city. [775] May your struggle with your enemies let none escape, bringing you safety and victory with the spear!Exit.

1 The passage points to the league between Athens and Argos, formed after Cimon was ostracized (461 B.C.) and the treaty with Sparta denounced.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 1173
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