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καὶ μὴν φόβοισί γ̓. The formula “καὶ μήν” (lit. ‘and verily’) introduces a new fact or thought; as in Tragedy it often announces a new comer (1168). When this new fact or thought raises a difficulty in the way of something proposed by the last speaker, then “καὶ μήν” acquires an adversative force. Thus here, its literal sense, ‘and verily,’ ‘indeed,’ is tinged by the context with the sense, ‘oh, but,’ or ‘nay, but.’ The effect of γε is to place a slight stress on φόβοισι. The combination καὶ μήνγε is very frequent with Sophocles: cp. 539: O. T. 290, O. T. 345, O. T. 836, O. T. 987, O. T. 1004, O. T. 1066: O. C. 396: Ant. 221: Ph. 660: El. 1045, El. 1188.In all these passages the effect of γε is the same; i.e., it does not modify the sense of “καὶ μήν”, but emphasises the word or phrase with which it is immediately connected.

φόβοισι, causal dat.: the plur. as in O. T. 585ξὺν φόβοισι”. Her fears were indicated at v. 340.

ἐξελυσάμην, lit. ‘released’: i.e., allowed him to leave the tent. The midd. “ἐκλύομαι” means to ‘release,’ ‘set free,’ in O.T. 1003, Ant. 1112, Tr. 21: H. 7. 1. 25 “ἐξελύσαντο τοὺς Ἀργείους”. The choice of the word seems to be prompted by a wish not to say more than is implied in “φόβοισι”, or to imply that she had rescued the child from a danger. She speaks merely as if (in her undefined ‘fears’) she had left the care of the child to others. Then the blunt and impatient question of Ajax—“ἐν τοῖσδε τοῖς κακοῖσιν κ.τ.λ.”—startles her into speaking plainly,—“μὴ σοί γέ που δύστηνος κ.τ.λ.

The conjecture ἐξερρυσάμην (cr. n.), ‘rescued,’ would efface this trait of reticence. It is inferred from the scholiast's phrase, “τῶν φόβων χάριν ῥύσασθαι θέλουσα ἐξήγαγον”. But “ἐξήγαγον” is there the important word, while the words “ῥύσασθαι θέλουσα” are merely the scholiast's expansion of the motive implied in “φόβοισι”.


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  • Commentary references from this page (15):
    • Sophocles, Ajax, 539
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 1112
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 221
    • Sophocles, Electra, 1045
    • Sophocles, Electra, 1188
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 396
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 1004
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 1066
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 290
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 345
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 585
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 836
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 987
    • Sophocles, Philoctetes, 660
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 21
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