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Orestes
Your husband loves another in your stead?

Hermione
Yes, Hector's bride, the spear-won captive girl.

Orestes
Your words spell bane, one man who has two women!

Hermione
[910] That is how things stand. And then I took revenge.

Orestes
Did you plot against her such things as women contrive?

Hermione
Yes, death for her and for her bastard son.

Orestes
Did you kill them, or did some mischance prevent you?

Hermione
Old Peleus stopped me, honoring the lowly.

Orestes
[915] And was there one who shared this murder with you?

Hermione
My father, come from Sparta for this purpose.

Orestes
Yet he was bested by an old man's hand?

Hermione
Yes, by his sense of shame—and then he left me!

Orestes
I see: for what you've done you fear your husband.

Hermione
[920] Yes. For he will be within his rights to kill me. What use to speak of it? But I entreat you in the name of Zeus, who is of our family, escort me to any place far away from this land or to my father's house. For this house seems to take voice and drive me forth, [925] and the land of Phthia hates me. And if my husband leaves the oracle of Phoebus and comes home before then, he will kill me in great disgrace or I shall be a slave to the concubine who was once my slave.

Orestes
How then did you come to commit these grave sins, as some might call them?

Hermione
[930] My undoing was bad women coming into the house. They puffed me up in folly by speaking in this vein: ‘Will you put up with this wretched captive in your house sharing in your marriage-bed? By the goddess, in my house she would not [935] have taken her pleasure of my husband and lived looking on the light!’

I listened to these Sirens' words [these clever, knavish, deceitful chatterers] and became inflated with foolish thoughts. What necessity was there to keep such a watch on my husband when I had all I needed? [940] I had great wealth, I was mistress in the house, and I would have borne legitimate children, while she would have borne bastards with half-slave parentage to serve my children. But never, never (for I will say it more than once) ought sensible men who have wives [945] to allow women to come to visit their wives in the house. They are the ones who teach evil. One corrupts her marriage with an eye to gain, while another who has slipped from virtue wishes for company in her vice, while others act from mere lewdness. That is the source of the disease [950] in the houses of men. In view of this guard well with bolt and bar the gates of your houses. For visits of women from outside are the cause of nothing that is sound but of much trouble.

Chorus Leader
You have hurled your tongue too violently at your own sex. [955] To be sure, this is understandable, but still it is right for women to cover over women's maladies.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 216-462
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