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Andromache
O my! The young are a great bane among mortals, [185] and within that class those of mortals who practice injustice! I am afraid that my being your slave will prevent me from speaking, even though my case is strong, afraid that if I win the argument I may for that very reason suffer harm. For those whose pride and position are great do not take kindly [190] to hearing from their inferiors arguments that defeat them. Nonetheless I shall not be guilty of betraying myself.

Tell me, young woman, what was the reliable argument that persuaded me to deprive you of your lawful due as a wife? [Is it that Sparta is a lesser city than Troy [195] and is surpassed in fortune by it, and that you see me a free woman?] Was it in order that I might bear children instead of you, slaves and a miserable appendage to myself? Or is it that, emboldened by youth and a body in the bloom of its prime, by the greatness of my city and by friends, [198] I mean to possess your house instead of you? Or will people put up with my children as the royal family of Phthia if you do not bear any? Naturally, since the Greeks love me both for Hector's sake <and for the sake of Paris, who is their relative by marriage as well as mine!>. And am I myself obscure and not rather one of Troy's royal family? [205] No, it is not because of any drugs of mine that your husband dislikes you but the fact that you are not fit to live with. For this too is a means of procuring love. It is not beauty but good qualities that give joy to husbands. But if you get angry, then Sparta is a great [210] city while Scyros, you maintain, is nowhere, you are a rich woman living in the midst of the poor, and Menelaus, you claim, is a greater man than Achilles. It is for this that your husband hates you. A woman, even if given in marriage to a lowly husband, must respect him and not engage in a contest of pride.

[215] If you had had as husband a king in snowy Thrace, where one husband divides his bed in turn among many women, would you have killed them? If so you would have clearly branded all women with the charge of sexual insatiability. [220] This is a shameful thing. And yet though we women suffer worse from this disease than men do, at least let us veil it decently from sight.

Dearest Hector, I even went so far as to help you in your amours, if Aphrodite ever made you fall, and I often gave the breast to your bastards [225] in order that I might show you no bitterness. By doing this I won my husband over with my goodness. But you in your fear will not let so much as a drop of water from the open sky fall on your husband. Do not seek to surpass your mother [230] in her man-loving ways, woman. All those who have sense must avoid the character of their bad mothers.

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hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 216-462
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 979
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Selections from the Attic Orators, 15.290
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (2):
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