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μηδ̓, εἴ τι δράσεις, sc.δράσειας”: cp. El.1434νῦν, τὰ πρὶν εὖ θέμενοι, τάδ᾽ ὡς πάλιν” (sc.εὖ θῆσθε”). Remark, as evidence that this suspected verse is genuine, the thoroughly idiomatic use of the fut. indic. with εἰ, in connection with the prayer: ‘if thou must do it, at least do it thus.’ So O. C.166λόγον εἴ τιν᾽ οἴσεις” | “πρὸς ἐμὰν λέσχαν, ἀβάτων ἀποβὰς” | ...“φώνει.—ἔτι” after ζώσης is here almost pleonastic: cp. Ant.3(n.).

This verse is a development of μή ποτ᾽ εἰσίδοιμι: ‘may I never see it; nay, if it is ever to happen, may it not happen while I live.’ Her words unconsciously foreshadow the troubles which, after her death, were brought upon her children by Eurystheus ( Eur. Heracl.). Such an allusion is quite in the poet's manner (cp. n. on Soph. Ant.1080 ff.).

The objection to the verse as illogical assumes that the “δέ” in μηδέ means ‘or,’ and that, therefore, the wish ‘not to see’ the woe is distinguished from a wish which it includes,—viz., that the woe may not come while she lives. The answer is simply that the “δέ” in “μηδέ” means ‘and.’

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 1080
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 3
    • Sophocles, Electra, 1434
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 166
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