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[50] And whoever says I am a fool if I do not touch a young girl when I have her in my house, let him know that he measures soundness of mind by worthless standards of judgment, and he himself is a fool.

Electra enters from the hut, carrying a water pitcher on her head. She is dressed in rags.

Electra
O black night, nurse of the golden stars, [55] in which I go to the river's streams, bearing this pitcher resting on my head—not because I have come to such a point of necessity, but so that I may show to the gods Aegisthus' insolence—and send forth laments into the wide sky, to my father. [60] For the deadly daughter of Tyndareus, my mother, has cast me out of the house to please her husband; since she has borne other children in her union with Aegisthus, she considers Orestes and me secondary in the home.

Peasant
Why, unhappy one, do you do this work, laboring for my sake, [65] though you were well brought up before, and do not stop, even when I tell you this?

Electra
I hold you equal to the gods in kindness, for in my distress you have not insulted me. It is a great allotment for mortals [70] to find a healer for ill fortune, such as I have in you. And so, even though unbidden, I ought to share your labors, relieving you of work as far as I have strength, so that you may bear it more easily. You have enough to do outside; I must keep the house [75] in order. It is pleasant for the worker coming in from outside to find things within right.

Peasant
Go, then, if you wish; and in fact the springs are not far from my house. When it is day, I will drive the oxen to my lands and sow the fields. [80] For no idler, though he has the gods' names always on his lips, can gather a livelihood without hard work.Electra and the Peasant go out. A moment later Orestes and Pylades enter.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 589
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