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Iphigenia
Very well. You go and bring the strangers here; the holy rites will be my concern.The Herdsman departs.

O my unhappy heart, you were gentle to strangers before, [345] and always full of pity, measuring out tears for the sake of our common race, whenever Hellenes came into your hands. But now, after those dreams that have made me savage, thinking that Orestes is no longer alive, [350] whoever comes here will find me harsh to them. This is true after all, my friends, I have realized: the unfortunate, when themselves doing badly, do not have kind thoughts towards those who are more unfortunate. But no breeze from Zeus ever came, [355] or a boat, bringing Helen here, through the rocks of the Symplegedes—Helen who destroyed me, with Menelaus, so that I might avenge myself on them, setting an Aulis here against that one there, where the Danaids overpowered me and were going to sacrifice me like a calf, [360] and my own father was the priest. Ah me!—I cannot forget those past evils—how often did I stroke my father's cheek and, hanging on his knees, told him: “O father, I am brought [365] to a shameful betrothal by you; but while you are killing me, my mother and the Argive women are singing wedding hymns, and the whole house is filled with the music of flutes; but I am being destroyed by you. For Achilles was Hades after all, not the son of Peleus, [370] whom you held out to me as a husband, and you brought me in a chariot to a bloody wedding by treachery.” But I was modestly looking out through a fine veil, and did not take up my brother in my arms—and now he is dead—did not kiss my sister, [375] because I was going to the house of Peleus; I put off many embraces to another time, thinking that I would come back again to Argos.

My unhappy Orestes, if you are dead, what glories have you left, what achievements of a father! [380] I blame the goddess' subtleties; whichever mortal has engaged in murder, or has touched a woman in childbirth or a corpse, she drives from her altars, thinking him impure; but she herself delights in human sacrifices. [385] It is not possible that Leto, the wife of Zeus, gave birth to such folly. I judge that the feast prepared by Tantalus for the gods is not to be believed, that they fed on the flesh of his son; and I think that the people here, who are themselves killers of men, [390] ascribe to the goddess their sorry behavior. For I believe that no god is evil.She enters the temple.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 1173
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