previous next

O woe, oh utter woe! My master is slain! [875] O woe! I cry yet again, for the third time. Aegisthus is no more! Come, with all speed! Unbar and open the women's door! And a strong arm indeed is needed, but not to help him who is already slain: what good is there in that? [880] Help! Help! Am I shouting to the deaf and fruitlessly wasting my voice on people who are asleep? Where has Clytaemestra gone? What is she doing? Her own neck, near the razor's edge, is now ready to fall beneath the stroke.

Clytaemestra hurries in unattended

What is this? What cry for help are you raising in our house? [885]

I tell you the dead are killing the living.1

Ah! Indeed I grasp the meaning of the riddle. We are to perish by treachery, just as we committed murder. Someone give me a battle-axe, and quickly! Let us know if we are victors or vanquished: [890] for I have even come to this in this wretched business.Exit Servant. The door is opened and the corpse of Aegisthus is discovered. Nearby stands Orestes, and at a distance Pylades

It is you I seek. He over there has had enough.

Oh no! My beloved, valiant Aegisthus! You are dead!

You love this man? Then you will lie in the same grave, and you will never abandon him in death. [895]

Wait, my son! Have pity, child, upon this breast at which many times while you slept you sucked with toothless gums the milk that nourished you.

Pylades, what shall I do? Shall I spare my mother out of pity?

1 The Greek admits either meaning: “the dead are killing the living man” or “the living man is killing the dead.”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 80
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 22.129
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: