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You should not repay small harms with great, and even if we women are a ruinous evil, you men should not imitate our nature. [355] For of my own accord, willingly and taking no refuge at an altar, I shall stand trial to determine whether I am poisoning your daughter and making her womb infertile, as she claims. My judge shall be your relation by marriage, and in his eyes I incur no less a penalty than in yours if [360] I afflict his line with childlessness. That is the way I am. As for your nature, there is one thing I fear: it was in the matter of a female quarrel that you also destroyed unhappy Troy.

Chorus Leader
You have spoken too much as a women to a man, <anger has overcome your good sense> [365] and has hurled forth sober judgment from your mind.

Menelaus
Woman, these things are, as you say, trifles and not worthy of my kingly power or of Greece. But make no mistake, whatever an individual happens to desire, that becomes for him greater than the conquest of Troy. [370] I have become the fixed ally of my daughter, for I think it is a serious matter to be deprived of sex. Any other misfortunes a woman may suffer are secondary, but if she loses her husband she loses her life. Neoptolemus must rule over my slaves, [375] and my kin—and I myself as well—must rule over his. For friends have no private property but hold all things in common. And if, while waiting for those who are absent, I do not set my own affairs in the best order possible, I am not wise but of no account.

[380] But get up from this temple of the goddess, since if you die, this boy will escape death, but if you refuse to die, I will kill him. One of the pair of you must leave this life.

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