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[945] Enough of this! For all that followed I must question myself, not you; what thought led me to follow the stranger from your house, traitress to my country and my home? Punish the goddess, show yourself more mighty even than Zeus, who, though he lords it over the other gods, [950] is her slave; therefore I may well be pardoned. Still, from this you might draw a specious argument against me; when Paris died, and earth concealed his corpse, I should have left his house and sought the Argive fleet, since my marriage was no longer in the hands of gods. [955] That was what I was eager to do; and the warders on the towers and watchmen on the walls can bear me witness, for often they found me seeking to let myself down stealthily by cords from the battlements [but tbere was that new husband, Deiphobus, that carried me off [960] by force to be his wife against the will of Troy]. How then, my lord, could I be justly put to death . . . by you, with any show of right, seeing that he wedded me against my will, and those my other natural gifts have served a bitter slavery, instead of leading on to triumph? If it is your will indeed [965] to master gods, that very wish displays your folly.

Chorus Leader
O my royal mistress, defend your children's and your country's cause, bringing to nothing her persuasive arguments, for she pleads well in spite of all her villainy; this is monstrous!

Hecuba

Hecuba
First I will take up the cause of those goddesses, [970] and prove how she perverts the truth. For I can never believe that Hera or the maiden Pallas would have been guilty of such folly, the one to sell her Argos to barbarians, or that Pallas ever would make her Athens subject to the Phrygians, [975] coming as they did in mere wanton sport to Ida to contest the palm of beauty. For why should goddess Hera set her heart so much on such a prize? Was it to win a nobler lord than Zeus? or was Athena hunting down among the gods a husband, [980] she who in her dislike of marriage won from her father the gift of remaining unwed? Do not seek to impute folly to the goddesses, in the attempt to adorn your own sin; never will you persuade the wise. Next you have said—what well may make men jeer—that Cypris came with my son to the house of Menelaus. [985] Could she not have stayed quietly in heaven and brought you and Amyclae as well to Ilium?

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 782
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