ὁ θυμὸς τῶν … τεχνωμένων, the mind of those who are planning nothing aright (planning utter mischief) in the dark, φιλεῖ κλοπεὺς ᾑρῆσθαι, is apt to stand convicted of its treason, πρόσθεν, beforehand,—i.e. before the treasonable deed has been done. For the order of words (“ὁ θυμός” being divided from the attributive gen. by the predicate), cp. Thuc. 2.8 “ἡ δὲ εὔνοια παρὰ πολὺ ἐποίει τῶν ἀνθρώπων μᾶλλον ἐς τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίους”. Ismene has not yet been caught in a disloyal act; but her guilty conscience has already shown itself. κλοπεύς here answers to “κλέπτειν” as=‘to do by stealth or fraud,’ Ai. 1137 “πόλλ᾽ ἂν κακῶς λάθρᾳ σὺ κλέψειας κακά”. It denotes the plotter's treachery towards the State, not the betrayal of the plotter by his own conscience (as some have taken it). ᾑρῆσθαι κλοπεύς (without “ὤν”), as O. T. 576 “φονεὺς ἁλώσομαι”: the perf. (expressing that the exposure is already decisive), like “ηὑρῆσθαι” ib. 1050. τεχνωμένων midd., as usual; cp. Ph. 80“τεχνᾶσθαι κακά”. This is better than to make it pass., as a gen. absol., (‘when utter mischief is being contrived,’) a constr. which seems to require the change of “ὀρθῶς” to “ὀρθῶν”, since “τὰ μηδὲν ὀρθῶς” could hardly mean, ‘things which (are) in no wise well,’ sc. “ἔχοντα. οἱ μηδὲν ὀρθῶς τεχνώμενοι”=those who plan nothing in such a way as to be right (the generic “μή”): cp. Ph. 407“παν<*>ς ἂν λόγου κακοῦ ι γλώσσῃ θιγόντα καὶ πανουργίας, ἀφ᾽ ἧς ι μηδὲν δίκαιον ἐς τέλος μέλλοι ποιεῖν”.
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