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How did you persuade an army to follow you here?

Adrastus swore an oath to his two sons-in-law, [Tydeus and myself; for he is my relative by marriage] that he would restore us both to our country, but I would be the first. [430] So many Danaan and Mycenaean chiefs have joined me, doing me a bitter though needful service, for it is against my own city I am marching. Now I call the gods to witness, that it is not willingly I have raised the spear against my willing friends. [435] But it belongs to you, mother, to dissolve this unhappy feud, and, by reconciling loving brothers, to end the trouble for me and you and the whole city. It has been said for a long time, but I will say it anyway: wealth is most valued by men, [440] and of all things in the world it has the greatest power. This I have come to secure at the head of my great army; for a man well-born but poor is worth nothing.

Chorus Leader
And see, Eteocles comes here to discuss the truce. It is your task, mother Jocasta, to speak [445] such words as may reconcile your sons.

Eteocles and his retinue enter.

Mother, I am here; I have come to do you a favor. What am I to do? Let some one begin the conference; for I stopped marshalling the citizens in pairs of companies around the walls, so that I might hear your [450] arbitration between us, by which you persuaded me to admit this man under truce within the walls.

Wait; haste does not carry justice with it; but slow deliberation often attains a wise result. Restrain the fierceness of your look and panting rage; [455] for this is not the Gorgon's severed head but your own brother whom you see has come. You too, Polyneices, turn and face your brother; for if you look at him, you will speak and listen to him the better. [460] I want to give you both one piece of good counsel; when a man that is angry with his friend confronts him face to face, he ought only to keep in view the object of his coming, forgetting all previous quarrels. [465] My son Polyneices, speak first, for you have come at the head of a Danaid army, alleging wrongful treatment; may some god be the judge and reconciler of the troubles.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 231
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