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τοῦ μηδὲν αἰσχροῦ, that which is in no way of a shameful kind (generic “μή”): cp. Ant.494τῶν μηδὲν ὀρθῶς... τεχνωμένων”: Ph.409μηδὲν δίκαιον” (n.).— μηδ᾽ ἐμοὶ κακοῦ τινος. As we could say, “τὸ μὴ ἐμοὶ κακόν τι” (‘what is not any ill to me’), so here it seems simplest to carry on the τοῦ: though it is not necessary to do so.

This is a remarkable passage, and it is of some moment to understand it rightly. The meaning is not merely that Iolè's relation to Heracles was excused by the omnipotence of Erôs. Concubinage (“παλλακία”) was not merely tolerated by Athenian opinion, but, in some measure, protected by law (see e.g., Lys. or. 1 § 31: Isae. or. 8 § 39). Its relation to the life of the family is illustrated by the Andromachè of Euripides; for though Andromachè is Trojan, and Hermionè Spartan, the sentiments are Athenian. A wife (“γαμετὴ γυνή”) who tolerates a “παλλακή” is there represented as proving her goodness of heart (“ἀρετή”, 226), and her wise moderation (938—942); she ought to be consoled by her higher place, and by the advantage which her children will have over the “νόθοι”.

But is Deianeira in earnest here; or is she feigning acquiescence, to reassure Lichas? Presently she tells the Chorus that she cannot endure to share her home with Iolè (539—546). Probably Sophocles meant her to be sincere in both places. The faith in her own power to bear the trial is natural at this moment of excitement and suspense. Not less so is the reaction, when she knows the worst, and has had time to think.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Isaeus, Ciron, 39
    • Lysias, On the Murder of Eratosthenes, 31
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 494
    • Sophocles, Philoctetes, 409
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