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I read “ἤνεγκ᾽ οὖν κακότατ̓,... ἤνεγκ᾽ ἀέκων. ἤνεγκον” was, indeed, the ordinary form of the aor. in the older Attic, as inscriptions show, in which “ἤνεγκα” occurs first about 360 B.C. (Meisterhans, p. 88); but “ἤνεγκα” is proved by metre in El. 13 and Eur. Ion 38. “οὖν” is suitable, when he is reluctantly proceeding to unfold his story in answer to their pressing demand.

ἤνεγκ̓ emphasises his ruling thought, his great plea— that he has been a sufferer, not a doer (267).

κακότατ̓, the misery of his two involuntary crimes. “ἤνεγκον ... ἤνεγκ̓” might possibly stand, but would be harsh. There is nothing to offend in “ἀέκων μὲν... τούτων δέ”, meaning—“"The agent was not free—the acts were not voluntary."

In the MS. reading, “ἤνεγκονἤνεγκον ἄκων μέν, ἄκων” is wrong, since metre requires u- (cp. 510). With Bothe's ἑκὼν the sense would be:—“"I have endured misery through acts which were my own, indeed: but not one of them was done knowingly."” The objections to this are insuperable. (1)

θεὸς ἴστω must clearly have been preceded by the mention of some point to which he could appeal in an extenuation of his deed,—not by an admission, such as “ἑκών” expresses. (2) “ἤνεγκον ἑκών”, in the supposed sense, is utterly at variance with the language and the whole tone of the play. Cp. 239ἔργων ἀκόντων”: 964ἤνεγκον ἄκων”: 977πῶς ἂν τό γ᾽ ἆκον πρᾶγμ᾽ ἂν εἰκότως ψέγοις;” he asks, speaking of his own deeds.

It would be a subtlety foreign to Sophocles to make Oedipus say that he had acted “ἑκὼν” when he did not act “φρονῶν” (271), “εἰδώς” (273), “ξυνιείς” (976). Il. 4.43καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ σοὶ δῶκα ἑκὼν ἀέκοντί γε θυμῷ” is irrelevant:— Zeus there says to Hera “"I have given thee this (thy pleasure touching Troy) of my free will"” (since neither god nor man could compel Zeus), “"yet against mine own wish."

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hide References (6 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (6):
    • Euripides, Ion, 38
    • Sophocles, Electra, 13
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 239
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 964
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 977
    • Homer, Iliad, 4.43
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