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Enter Clytaemestra

[1035] Get inside, you too, Cassandra1; since not unkindly has Zeus appointed you to share the holy water of a house where you may take your stand, with many another slave, at the altar of the god who guards its wealth. Get down from the car and do not be too proud; [1040] for even Alcmene's son2, men say, once endured to be sold and eat the bread of slavery. But if such fortune should of necessity fall to the lot of any, there is good cause for thankfulness in having masters of ancient wealth; for they who, beyond their hope, have reaped a rich harvest of possessions, [1045] are cruel to their slaves in every way, even exceeding due measure. You have from us such usage as custom warrants.

It is to you she has been speaking and clearly. Since you are in the toils of destiny, perhaps you will obey, if you are so inclined; but perhaps you will not.

[1050] Well, if her language is not strange and foreign, even as a swallow's, I must speak within her comprehension and move her to comply.

Go with her. With things as they now stand, she gives you the best. Do as she bids and leave your seat in the car.

[1055] I have no time to waste with this woman here outside; for already the victims stand by the central hearth awaiting the sacrifice—a joy we never expected to be ours. As for you, if you will take any part, make no delay. [1060] But if, failing to understand, you do not catch my meaning, then, instead of speech, make a sign with your barbarian hand.

It is an interpreter and a plain one that the stranger seems to need. She bears herself like a wild creature newly captured.

No, she is mad and listens to her wild mood, [1065] since she has come here from a newly captured city, and does not know how to tolerate the bit until she has foamed away her fretfulness in blood. No! I will waste no more words upon her to be insulted thus.Exit

But I will not be angry, since I pity her. [1070] Come, unhappy one, leave the car; yield to necessity and take upon you this novel yoke.

1 I have retained the ordinary form of the name in Greek and English.

2 Heracles, because of his murder of Iphitus, was sold as a slave to Omphale, queen of Lydia.

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  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 9
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