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καὶ ταῦτα λέξαςκ.τ.λ.” The question of Ph. is, ‘Art thou not ashamed before heaven of pretending that a return to Troy is for my good?’ (For καταισχύνει with acc., cp. Soph. O. T. 1424.) Now, if we retain in 1383 the MS. ὠφελούμενος, Neoptolemus replies,—‘Why should one be ashamed, when he is receiving a benefit?’ This would be a sentiment like that of Odysseus in 111, “ὅταν τι δρᾷς εἰς κέρδος, οὐκ ὀκνεῖν πρέπει”. But the rejoinder of Ph. shows that N. cannot have so spoken; for Ph. asks,—‘Dost thou mean a benefit to the Atreidae, or to me?’ N.'s words, then, must have been to this effect,—‘Why should one be ashamed, when he is conferring a benefit?’ If, therefore, ὠφελούμενος is to be kept, it must be midd., not pass., ‘benefiting.’ There are some instances of rare midd. forms in Soph. (as “ποθουμένᾳ...φρενί”= “ποθούσῃ” in Soph. Tr. 103): but they usually occur in contexts which exclude the pass. sense. Here, a midd. “ὠφελούμενος” would be too ambiguous. The pass. sense of that form was familiar, whereas the midd. sense is unexampled.

Of emendations, Heath's ὠφελουμένους is the most attractive at first sight. But, if θεούς be left in 1382, then “ὠφελουμένους” could refer to nothing else: and such phrases as “τῷ...δαίμονι...σύμμαχος πέλω” ( O. T. 244), or “τῷ θεῷ βοηθῶν” ( Plat. Apol. 23B), certainly do not warrant a description of the gods as ‘benefited’ when they are obeyed. ὠφελουμένων (gen. absol.), ‘when people are being benefited,’ would be too vague.

I am persuaded, then, that the fault in ὠφελούμενος is not confined to the termination. Buttmann's conjecture, ὠφελῶν φίλους, gives precisely what is required; since “φίλους”, in N.'s mouth, might well suggest Ph. 's reply in 1384, “λέγεις δ᾽ Ἀτρείδαις κ.τ.λ.” The origin of the corruption may have been the resemblance of the syllables “ΦΕΛ” and “ΦΙΛ”, leading a careless scribe to erase the second of them.

hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Plato, Apology, 23b
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 1424
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 244
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 103
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