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Chorus Leader
[1100] Chance is in the marriages of women; among mankind, I see some fall out well, others not.]

Clytemnestra
Child, it was always your nature to love your father. This is what happens: some children are for their fathers, others in turn love their mothers more than a father. [1105] I will forgive you; for I do not rejoice so very much at what I have done, child.

You, a woman who has just given birth—why is your body so unwashed and meanly clad?

Alas for my schemes! [1110] I drove on in anger against my husband more than I should have.

Electra
You sigh too late, when you have no remedy. My father is dead; but why do you not recall that exile, your own wandering son?

Clytemnestra
l am afraid; I am looking to my interests, not his. [1115] For he is angry, they say, over the murder of his father.

Electra
And why do you cause your husband to be cruel to me?

Clytemnestra
Such are his ways. You have a stubborn nature also.

Electra
Yes, for I am in distress. Yet I will cease from my anger.

Clytemnestra
And then he will no longer be harsh to you.

Electra
[1120] He is proud; for he lives in my home.

Clytemnestra
You see? Again you are rekindling new quarrels.

Electra
I am silent; I fear him—as I fear him.

Clytemnestra
Stop this talk! But why did you summon me, child?

Electra
You have heard, I suppose, that I have given birth; [1125] in thanks for this, please sacrifice—for I do not know how—on the tenth day, as is the custom for the child. For I have no experience, being childless before.

Clytemnestra
This is work for another, the one who delivered you.

Electra
I was all alone in my labor and at the baby's birth.

Clytemnestra
[1130] Is this household situated with no friends as neighbors?

Electra
No one is willing to have the poor as friends.

Clytemnestra
But I will go to make the tenth-day sacrifice to the gods for the child; and when I have done you this favor, I will go to the field where my husband is sacrificing to the [1135] Nymphs. Take this team away, my attendants, and bring it to the stalls; and when you think that I have finished this sacrifice to the gods, be ready; for I must also please my husband.

Electra
Go into a poor house; but please take care [1140] that my smoke-grimed walls do not smear your robes with soot. For you will make the sacrifice to the gods that you ought to make.

Clytemnestra goes into the hut.
The basket is ready, and the knife sharpened, the same that killed the bull by whose side you will lie, struck down. Even in Hades' house you will be the bride of the one [1145] whom you slept with in life. This is the favor I will give you, and you will give me retribution for my father.Electra follows her into the hut.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 1050
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