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φίλαι. It seems fitting that, towards the close of these lyrics, Electra should address some words to the sympathetic Chorus,—as she did before, just after the discovery (1227); though at v. 1285 she again speaks to Orestes. The emendation φίλ̓, ὅτ̓ (Wunder), like others designed to alter φίλαι, is hardly probable.

αὐδάν is unquestionably the living voice of Orestes, which ‘she could never have hoped to hear,’ after the apparent proofs of his death. Cp. 1225 φθέγὐ, ἀφίκου”: and with οὐδ᾽ ἂν ἤλπις᾿, cp. 1263ἀέλπτως”: 832 f. “εἰ τῶν φανερῶς οἰχομένων” | “εἰς Ἀΐδαν ἐλπίδ᾽ ὑποίσεις”: and 858 f. The first and best scholium on 1281 recognises that “αὐδάν” denotes a source of joy, not of grief, to her (“καὶ γὰρ ἡδονὴ προετρέπετο αὐτὴν βοῆσαι”), though wrongly explaining the word as “φήμην περὶ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ” (news of his safety). If “αὐδάν” meant the report of his death, the words “ἃν ἐγὼ οὐδ᾽ ἂν ἤλπις᾿” would lose all force.

1283 f. There can be no doubt that something has been lost before ἔσχον. Arndt supplies οὐδ᾽ ἂν, which might easily have been omitted, either through its likeness to “αὐδάν” just before it, or through the “οὐδ᾽ ἂν” above it. ὁρμὰν, for the traditional “ὀργὰν”, is due to Blomfield (Mus. Crit. 1. 214).

ὀργή” in Sophocles means either (1) ‘anger,’ or (2) ‘disposition’: Ant. 875αὐτόγνωτος..ὀργά”: ib. 355 “ἀστυνομους ὀργάς”: Ai. 639συντρόφοις ὀργαῖς”. Neither sense can be fitted into any probable interpretation. Some have supposed the meaning to be that Electra ‘restrained her anger in silence,’ when Clyt. was exulting in the death of Orestes; but, in fact, her anger found a voice (see 792). Others understand that she ‘restrained her emotion’ (of grief), on hearing the sad news; but she did not do so (see 823—870): nor could “ὀργὰν” mean ‘emotion’ in that sense.

On the other hand “ὀργή” and “ὁρμή” were easily confused in MSS. Thus in Tr. 720, where “ὁρμῇ” is right, “γ” has been written over “μ” in L, and “ὀργῇ” is actually the reading of A, and of the Aldine. Cp. also O. T. 337.

The context is the best guide to the sense which should be restored. Through out these lyrics, Orestes has been endeavouring to repress Electra's cries, lest she should be overheard (1236, 1238, 1251 f., 1257, 1259, 1271 f.). The corrupt words probably referred to this. ὁρμὰν is the ‘impulse’ or ‘emotion’ which compelled her to utter her new joy. She turns to these sympathetic women, and excuses her incaution by her happiness.

οὐδ᾽ ἂν ἔσχον is the potential indicative: see Goodwin, Moods and Tenses, new ed., § 244. Cp. Dem. or. 37 § 57πῶς ἂν...ἐγώ τί σε ἠδίκησα”; (‘how could I possibly have wronged thee?’). ἄναυδον, proleptic: Aesch. Ag. 1247εὔφημον... κοίμησον στόμα”.

Other interpretations and conjectures will be found in the Appendix.

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hide References (8 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (8):
    • Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 1247
    • Demosthenes, Against Pantaenetus, 57
    • Sophocles, Ajax, 639
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 875
    • Sophocles, Electra, 1225
    • Sophocles, Electra, 1263
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 337
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 720
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