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Oedipus
And who is the man whose fate he thus reveals?

Creon
Laius, my lord, was the leader of our land before you assumed control of this state.

Oedipus
[105] I know it well—by hearsay, for I never saw him.

Creon
He was slain, and the god now bids us to take vengeance on his murderers, whoever they are.

Oedipus
Where on earth are they? Where shall the dim track of this old crime be found?

Creon
[110] In this land, the god said. What is sought for can be caught; only that which is not watched escapes.

Oedipus
Was it in the house, or in the field, or on foreign soil that Laius met his bloody end?

Creon
He left our land, as he said, on a mission to Delphi. [115] And once he had set forth, he never again returned.

Oedipus
And was there none to tell? Was there no travelling companion who saw the deed, from whom tidings might have been gained, and used?

Creon
All perished, save one who fled in fear, and he could tell with assurance only one thing of all that he saw.

Oedipus
[120] And what was that? One thing might hold the clue to many, if we could only get a small beginning for hope.

Creon
He said that robbers fell upon them, not one man alone, but with a great force.

Oedipus
How then, unless some intrigue had been worked with bribes [125] from here in Thebes, would the robbers have been so bold?

Creon
Such things were surmised. But once Laius was slain no avenger arose in the midst of our troubles.

Oedipus
But when royalty had fallen in this way, what trouble prevented a full search?

Creon
[130] The riddling Sphinx had forced us to let things that were obscure go, and to investigate the pressing trouble.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 991
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