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ἣν ὑπ᾽ ἀγνοίας ὁρᾷς. If these words are sound, they mean, ‘on whom you look with (affected) ignorance.’ There is little force in the objection that Iolè is not actually present: the Messenger is calling up the recent scene (314—319), which is so fresh in their minds. The real question is,—could ὑπ᾽ ἀγνοίας be thus used,—as=‘with’ (not ‘from’) ‘ignorance’? Elsewhere “ὑπό” denotes some external accompaniment of action, as (1) sound, “ὑπὸ συρίγγων”: or silence, “ὑπ᾽ εὐφήμου βοῆς” ( El.630): (2) light, “ὑπὸ λαμπάδων.”: (3) a pressure from without, as “ὑπὸ μαστίγων”. There is perhaps no instance in which it refers distinctly to the mental or moral circumstances (as distinct from motives) of the agent. In Eur. Hipp.1299ὑπ᾽ εὐκλείας θάνῃ” means, ‘amid men's praises’: even in Eur. Hec.351, “ἐθρέφθην ἐλπίδων καλῶν ὕπο”, Polyxena alludes not merely to the hopes in her own breast, but to the fair auguries of those who watched her youth. Possibly the use of ὑπ᾽ ἀγνοίας in this verse may have been felt to convey a certain irony which excused it; as if it implied, ‘with a look of ignorance assumed for the occasion,’—the deceiver's outward equipment for his part.

On the whole, I do not feel sure that there is a corruption. If there is, it probably lies deep. Some conjectures are noticed in the Appendix.


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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Euripides, Hecuba, 351
    • Euripides, Hippolytus, 1299
    • Sophocles, Electra, 630
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