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σὺ δ᾽ with “φέρ᾽, εἰπέ” (534).— ὑφειμένη, submissa, ‘lurking,’ as a viper lurks under stones: H. A. 8. 15 “αἱ δ᾽ ἔχιδναι ὑπὸ τὰς πέτρας ἀποκρύπτουσιν ἑαυτάς”. H. F. 72 “σῴζω νεοσσοὺς ὄρνις ὣς ὑφειμένη”, like a cowering hen (“ὑφειμένους” Kirchhoff). The word may also suggest a contrast between Antigone's bolder nature and the submissive demeanour of Ismene (cp. El. 335νῦν δ᾽ ἐν κακοῖς μοι πλεῖν ὑφειμένῃ δοκεῖ”, ‘with shortened sail’). But we should not render it by ‘submissive’; its primary reference is to the image of the “ἔχιδνα”. Others render, ‘having crept in,’ clam immissa. The act. can mean to ‘send in secretly’ (see on “ὑφείς”, O. T. 387), but the pass. “ὑφίεσθαι” does not seem to occur in a corresponding sense.

ἔχιδνα: cp. Tr. 770 (the poison works) “φοινίας ἐχθρᾶς ἐχίδνης ἰὸς ὥς”. So of Clytaemnestra (Aesch. Cho. 249): Eur. Andr. 271ἐχίδνης καὶ πυρὸς περαιτέρω”: cp. Ion 1262.This image for domestic treachery is quaintly illustrated by the popular notions mentioned in Mirab. 165 (p. 846 b 18 Berl. ed.) “τοῦ περκνοῦ ἔχεως τῇ ἐχίδνἡ συγγινομένου”,

ἔχιδνα ἐν τῇ συνουσίᾳ τὴν κεφαλὴν ἀποκόπτει. διὰ τοῦτο καὶ τὰ τέκνα, ὥσπερ τὸν θάνατον τοῦ πατρὸς μετερχόμενα, τὴν γαστέρα τῆς μητρὸς διαρρήγνυσιν”. (Cp. Shaksp. Per. 1. 1. 64I am no viper, yet I feed On mother's flesh.”)

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hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (7):
    • Aeschylus, Libation Bearers, 249
    • Euripides, Andromache, 271
    • Euripides, Ion, 1262
    • Sophocles, Electra, 335
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 387
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 770
    • William Shakespeare, Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 1.1
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