ὡς τίνα δὴ ῥέξῃς...; So O. C. 398(Ismene having said that Creon will come) “ΟΙ. ὅπως τί δράσῃ”; cp. ib. 1724: El. 390“ΧΡ. ὅπως πάθῃς τί χρῆμα;” παλάμαν, ‘deed of violence’; a sense in which the sing. does not seem to occur elsewhere, though the plur. often=‘violent hands’ ( Il. 3. 128“ὑπ᾽ Ἄρηος παλαμάων”). 1207 *“χρῶτ̓”, Hermann's correction of κρᾶτ̓, seems to me certain. For the interchange of “χ” and “κ”, cp. “βρύχομαι” corrupted from “βρύκομαι” in 745 (cr. n.). Here the error may have been facilitated by a recollection of 618 “κάρα” | “τέμνειν”. The sense is, ‘hew all the flesh (from my bones), and sever limb from limb,’—a frenzied exaggeration of his prayer in 748, “πάταξον εἰς ἄκρον πόδα”, | “ἀπάμησον ὡς τάχιστα: μὴ φείσῃ βίου”. Sophocles knew the History of Herodotus (cp. O. C. 337 n.). Is it not possible that the poet's diction here may have been influenced by a reminiscence of the passage describing the ghastly suicide of the insane Cleomenes (6. 75)? Cleomenes, like Philoctetes, ‘asked for a sword,’— which the terrified Helot gave him. Then, “παραλαβὼν τὸν σίδηρον ἄρχετο ἐκ κνημέων ἑωυτὸν λωβώμενος: ἐπιτάμνων γὰρ κατὰ μῆκος τὰς σάρκας” (cp. Χρῶτα πάντα) “προέβαινε ἐκ τῶν κνημέων ἐς τοὺς μηρούς, ἐκ δὲ τῶν μηρῶν ἔς τε τὰ ἰσχία καὶ τὰς λαπάρας, ἐς ὃ ἐς τὴν γαστέρα ἀπίκετο, καὶ ταύτην καταχορδεύων ἀπέθανε”. If the MS. κρᾶτ̓ be kept, πάντα must be taken in one of two ways. (1) As acc. masc. with “κρᾶτ̓”. Cp. Ionfr. 61 “τὸν αὑτοῦ κρᾶτα”: Eur. fr. 243 “τὸν σὸν κρᾶτ̓”. But with Sophocles “κρᾶτα” is elsewhere neut.: cp. 1001, 1457. (2) As adverbial neut. pl., ‘utterly.’ In either case the sense is weak. We cannot take “πάντα καὶ ἄρθρα” as=“καὶ πάντα ἄρθρα”. (In Aesch. P. V. 51, “ἔγνωκα τοῖσδε κοὐδὲν ἀντειπεῖν ἔχω”, the comma should stand after “τοῖσδε”, not after “ἔγνωκα”.) A transposition is, indeed, possible—“κρᾶτα καὶ ἄρθρ᾽ ἀπὸ πάντα”. But, even then, there is the difficulty that he cuts off his own head before mangling his limbs. This, surely, is more than the figure of ‘prothysteron’ will comfortably excuse. Prof. Campbell compares Soph. Ai. 238“κεφαλὴν καὶ γλῶσσαν ἄκραν” | “ῥιπτεῖ θερίσας”: but Ajax is not decapitating himself.
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