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Chorus Leader
[680] Oh dear, all is over, mistress, and the designs of your servant have not succeeded: all is lost.

Vile destroyer of your friends, see what you have done to me! May Zeus the father of my race destroy you root and branch with his thunderbolt! [685] Did I not warn you—did I not guess your purpose?—to say nothing of the matters now causing me disgrace? But you could not bear to do so: and so I shall no longer die with an honorable name. I must plan anew. For he, with his mind whetted to a fine edge with anger, [690] will utter against my name the wrongs you have committed [, he will tell Pittheus of my misfortune] and will fill the whole land with ugly tales. My curse on you, and on anyone who itches to perform, for friends unwilling, services that are dishonorable!

[695] Mistress, you can, to be sure, find fault with the troubles I have brought you, for the sting of them controls your reason. But if you will hear it I too have something to say in reply. I brought you up and wish your good. When I looked to find a remedy for your malady, what I found was not what I wanted. [700] But if I had had success, I would have been numbered among the very wise. For our reputation for wisdom varies with the outcome.

What? Is this justice and satisfaction for me, to run me through and then to admit you are wrong?

We are wasting words. I admit I went too far. [705] But even from this, my child, you can escape with your life.1

No more from you! For last time the advice you gave was dishonorable, and what you attempted to do was criminal. Get out of my way and worry about yourself! My own business I shall myself arrange well.

Exit the Nurse into the palace.
[710] Noble women of Trozen, grant me this one request: bury in silence what you have heard this day.

Chorus Leader
I swear by Artemis the holy, Zeus's daughter, that I shall never reveal to the daylight any of your troubles!

[715] It is good. I have one further thing to add: I have discovered a means for coping with this disaster so that I may bequeath to my sons a life of good repute and myself win some benefit in the face of present events. For I shall never disgrace my Cretan home [720] nor shall I go to face Theseus with shameful deeds charged against me if only one life stands in the way.

Chorus Leader
What harm past cure is it you mean to do?

To die. But the manner of it—that shall be my devising.

Chorus Leader
Say no more shocking words!

And you, give me advice that is good! [725] This day I shall delight Aphrodite, who is bent on destroying me, when I have taken leave of my life, and I shall fall as victim to a hateful passion. But to someone else I shall prove a bane by my death, so that he may learn not to wax proud [730] over my misfortune; by sharing with me in this malady he will learn to keep within bounds.2Exit Phaedra into the palace.

1 The Nurse may be alluding to the oath Hippolytus is under and which he has promised to keep (656-60), circumstances Phaedra is unaware of if she is off-stage during the scene between Hippolytus and the Nurse.

2 In Greek, σωφρονείν: this word is used throughout the play to mean ‘to be chaste’.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (3):
    • Herbert Weir Smyth, A Greek Grammar for Colleges, THE PARTICIPLE
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 3.5.3
    • William Watson Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, Chapter VI
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
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