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If οἶδα is right (as it seems to be), μή can hardly be explained otherwise than by emphasis, i.e. by the strong assurance which the speaker expresses. But what form should the partic. have? (1) With the MS. πείθων, the sense is: “"However, I am assured that I am not persuading you of this,—go!"” In

οἶδ᾽ ἐγώ σε μήτινα
ἐνθένδ᾽ ἀπάξοντ᾽ ἄνδρα

appears to be a like case of strong assurance. Cp. O. T. 1455. In 1121 there is another: “ἐπίσταμαι γὰρ τήνδε... τέρψιν παρ᾽ ἄλλου μηδενὸς πεφασμένην”. Here, however, “οἷδα μὴ πείθων” is so far stranger, that the emphasis appears less appropriate in stating the speaker's consciousness of what he himself is doing. (2) The v.l. πείθοντ̓, extant in at least one MS. (F), removes this objection. “"However, I am assured that you are not persuading (either the Athenians or me, cp. 803)—go!"” (3) πείσων would be liable to the same remark as “πείθων”. (4) πείσοντ̓ would complete the parallelism with 656, but is not required by the “"strong assurance"” view, which applies to past (1121) or present as well as to future.—Another view is that μή gives a quasi-imperative force: “"I know that you shan't persuade."” This might apply to 656. Here it is much more difficult, esp. if we do not adopt “πείσοντ̓”: in 1121 it fails.

With “ἴσθιμε” for “οἶδα...δε” the imper. would explain μή (cp. on 78): and we may note that in O. T. 376 the MSS. changed “σε...ἑμοῦ” into “με...σοῦ”. But the context confirms οἶδα.

In later Greek “μή” with partic., in regard to fact, was common, as Luc. Dial. Mort. 16 “πῶς οὖν ἀκριβὴς Αἰακὸς ὢν οὐ διέγνω δε μὴ ὄντα ἐκεῖνον”; “"failed to discern that you were not he,"” where “μὴ ὄντα”, though it might be paraphrased by “εἰ μὴ ἦσθα”, virtually=“ὅτι οὐκ ἦσθα”. In Mod. Greek the partic. always takes “μή”, not “δέν”. This latter tendency may conceivably have affected our MSS.: e.g.τοιάδ᾽ οὐ πείθων” may have once stood here.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 656
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 376
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 1455
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