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Orestes
Ah! You have described a noble man, and he must be treated well.

Electra
Yes, if ever the one now absent comes home.

Orestes
But did your mother, who gave you birth, endure this?

Electra
[265] Women love their husbands, stranger, not their children.

Orestes
Why did Aegisthus insult you in this way?

Electra
He planned for me to bear powerless children, when he gave me to such a man.

Orestes
So that you might not bear sons to punish him, of course?

Electra
That was his plan; may he make amends to me for it!

Orestes
[270] Does your mother's husband know that you are a virgin?

Electra
He does not know; we steal that from him by our silence.

Orestes
Are these women who hear our talk friends of yours ?

Electra
They will keep both your words and mine well hidden.

Orestes
What then could Orestes do in this matter if he comes to Argos?

Electra
[275] Do you ask this? You have said a shameful word; isn't it the critical time now?

Orestes
But if he does come, how might he kill his father's murderers?

Electra
By daring such things as his enemies dared against my father.

Orestes
And would you dare, with him, to kill your mother?

Electra
Yes, with that same axe by which my father died.

Orestes
[280] Am I to tell him this, and that your purpose is steadfast?

Electra
Once I had shed my mother's blood, I might die!

Orestes
Ah! Would that Orestes were near by, to hear that!

Electra
But, stranger, I would not know him if I saw him.

Orestes
No wonder, for you were both young when you were parted.

Electra
[285] There is only one of my friends who would recognize him.

Orestes
The man who is said to have stolen him away from murder?

Electra
Yes, the old man, my father's old servant.

Orestes
Did the dead man, your father, find burial?

Electra
He found what he could, cast out of the house.

Orestes
[290] Alas, the things you have said! For perception of suffering, even another's, gnaws at mortals. Speak, so that when I know, I may tell your brother the story, unpleasant, but necessary to hear. Pity is not present at all in ignorance, [295] but in wise men. And indeed it is not without penalty for the wise to have overly profound thoughts.

Chorus Leader
And I have the same desire in my heart as this man. Being far from the town, I do not know the city's troubles, and now I want to learn them.

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hide References (1 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 331
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