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Orestes
By the gods! Is this the man who makes a fraud of your marriage, [365] because he does not want to shame Orestes?

Electra
This is the one who is called my husband, unhappy as I am.

Orestes
Ah! There is no exact way to test a man's worth; for human nature has confusion in it. I have seen before now the son of a noble father [370] worth nothing, and good children from evil parents; famine in a rich man's spirit, and a mighty soul in a poor man's body. How then does one rightly distinguish and judge these things? By wealth? A sorry test to use. [375] Or by those who have nothing? But poverty has a disease, it teaches a man to be wicked in his need. But shall I turn to warfare? Who, facing the enemy's spear, could be a witness as to who is brave? It is best to leave these matters alone, at random. [380] For this man, neither important in Argos, nor puffed up by the good reputation of his family, but one of the many, has been found to be the best. Do not be foolish, you who wander about full of empty notions, but judge those noble among men by their company [385] and by their habits. For such men rule well both states and homes; while those bodies that are empty of mind are only ornaments in the market-place. For the strong arm does not await the battle any better than the weak; [390] this depends on natural courage.

But, since Agamemnon's son, both present and not present, for whose sake we have come, is worthy of it, let us accept a lodging in this house. Calling to his servants. We must go within this house, slaves. May a man poor [395] but eager be a better host for me than a rich man! And so I am content with the reception into this man's house, though I would have wanted your brother, in good fortune, to lead me to his fortunate home. Perhaps he may come; the oracles of Loxias are [400] sure, but human prophecy I dismiss. Orestes, Pylades and their attendants go into the hut

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 513-862
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