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Electra
[300] I will speak, if I must—and one must speak to a friend—about my own and my father's heavy misfortunes. Since you are setting the tale in motion, I entreat you, stranger, tell Orestes of our sorrows, mine and his. First of all, in what clothes I live like a beast in a stall, [305] with what filth I am weighted down, under what roof I dwell, having lived in a royal home; I myself working hard on my clothes at the loom, or else I shall go barely clad and do without; always carrying water from the springs myself, [310] with no share in the festival rites, no part in the dance. I turn away from married women, as a virgin; and I turn away from Castor, who sought me in marriage before he joined the gods, for I was his relative. But my mother, in the spoils of Troy, [315] is seated on her throne, and at her chair stand slaves from Asia, my father's plunder, fastening their Trojan robes with golden brooches. And still my father's blood has rotted black on the wall, while the one who killed him [320] mounts the same chariot and goes forth; and is proud to hold in his blood-stained hands the scepter with which my father used to command the Hellenes. Agamemnon's grave, dishonoured, has not yet ever received any libations, or branch of myrtle, [325] but his altar is barren of ornament. That famous one, my mother's husband, leaps on the grave, they say, when soaked in drink, and pelts my father's marble monument with stones, and dares to say this to us: [330] “Where is your son Orestes? Is he here to defend the tomb for you nobly?” Orestes is insulted in this way while absent.

But, stranger, I beg you, report these things. There are many calling him to come—I am their interpreter—these hands, this tongue, my broken heart, [335] my shorn head, and his own father. For it is shameful, if his father destroyed the Trojans but Orestes is unable to kill a man, one against one, being young and born from a more noble father.

Chorus Leader
And look, I see him, I mean your husband, [340] on his way home, having left his work.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 797
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