No one can share the burden of his ills. Other men need not fear to be polluted by contact with him, as with one guilty of blood. His unwitting crimes and his awful sufferings—alike the work of Apollo—place him apart. In illustration of the fear which he seeks to allay, compare the plea of Orestes that, since he has been duly purified from bloodshed, contact with him has ceased to be dangerous （ Aesch. Eum. 285 “ὅσοις προσῆλθον ἀβλαβεῖ ξυνουσίᾳ）.” —Contrast Soph. OC 1132 ff., where Oed. will not allow his benefactor Theseus to touch him. There, he feels that he is still formally ἄναγνος, and that gratitude forbids him to impart a possible taint. Here, he thinks only of his unique doom and his incommunicable anguish.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.