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We will soon know better than seers could tell us.—My son, can it be that after hearing the final judgment concerning your betrothed, you have come in rage against your father? Or do I have your loyalty, act how I may?

[635] Father, I am yours, and you keep me upright with precepts good for me—precepts I shall follow. No marriage will be deemed by me more important than your good guidance.

[640] Yes, my son, this is the spirit you should maintain in your heart—to stand behind your father's will in all things. It is for this that men pray: to sire and raise in their homes children who are obedient, that they may requite their father's enemy with evil and honor his friend, just as their father does. [645] But the man who begets unhelpful children—what would you say that he has sown except miseries for himself and abundant exultation for his enemies? Never, then, my son, banish your reason for pleasure on account of a woman, [650] knowing that this embrace soon becomes cold and brittle—an evil woman to share your bed and home. For what wound could strike deeper than a false friend? No, spit her out as if she were an enemy, let her go find a husband in Hades. [655] For since I caught her alone of all the city in open defiance, I will not make myself a liar to my city. I will kill her. So let her call on Zeus who protects kindred blood. If I am to foster my own kin to spurn order, [660] surely I will do the same for outsiders. For whoever shows his excellence in the case of his own household will be found righteous in his city as well. But if anyone oversteps and does violence to the laws, or thinks to dictate to those in power, [665] such a one will never win praise from me. No, whomever the city may appoint, that man must be obeyed in matters small and great and in matters just and unjust. And I would feel confident that such a man would be a fine ruler no less than a good and willing subject, [670] and that beneath a hail of spears he would stand his ground where posted, a loyal and brave comrade in the battle line. But there is no evil worse than disobedience. This destroys cities; this overturns homes; this breaks [675] the ranks of allied spears into headlong rout. But the lives of men who prosper upright, of these obedience has saved the greatest part. Therefore we must defend those who respect order, and in no way can we let a woman defeat us. It is better to fall from power, if it is fated, by a man's hand, [680] than that we be called weaker than women.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 441
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