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Chorus
What shall we do? It rests with you, my king, whether we now sail, or move forward to answer his pleas.

Neoptolemus
[965] A startling pity for him has come upon me—and not now for the first time, but long ago.

Philoctetes
Show mercy, boy, for the love of the gods, and do not give men cause to reproach you for having cheated me.

Neoptolemus
Ah, no, what shall I do? I wish I had never left [970] Scyros, so pained am I by these doings.

Philoctetes
You are not in and of yourself wicked, but you seem to have come to me after learning the shameless lessons of wicked masters. Now leave such behavior to others, whom it suits, and sail from here—once you have given me back my weapons.

Neoptolemus
What shall we do, friends?

Enter Odysseus with several armed attendants.

Odysseus
[975] Traitor, what are you doing? Come back here and surrender that bow to me!

Philoctetes
Who is that? Do I hear Odysseus?

Odysseus
Yes, Odysseus, be sure of it. Here I am before your eyes.

Philoctetes
Ah, me, I am sold, destroyed! It was he, then, who entrapped me and robbed me of my arms.

Odysseus
[980] Yes, I and no other. I avow it.

Philoctetes
Give back my bow, boy, give it up.

Odysseus
That he shall never do, even if he wished to. And, what is more, you must come along with it, or my men will bring you by force.

Philoctetes
Me, you basest and boldest of scoundrels, [985] they will take me by force?

Odysseus
Unless you come of your own free will.

Philoctetes
O Lemnos, and you all-conquering flame kindled by Hephaestus, will you indeed endure it that this man should take me from your domain by force?

Odysseus
Zeus it is, I tell you, Zeus, who rules this land, [990] and it is by Zeus that these actions are decreed. I am his servant.

Philoctetes
Hated creature, what clever pleading you devise! By sheltering yourself behind the gods, you make the gods liars.

Odysseus
No, but true prophets. Now our march must begin.

Philoctetes
Never!

Odysseus
Now, I say. You must obey.

Philoctetes
[995] Ah, misery! Clearly, then, my father sired me to be a slave and no free man.

Odysseus
Not so, but to be the peer of the best and bravest, with whom you are destined to take Troy and force it to the ground.

Philoctetes
No, never—even if I must suffer every torment, [1000] so long as I have this island's steep cliffs beneath me!

Odysseus
What do you plan to do?

Philoctetes
Throw myself now from the rock and shatter my head on the rocks below!

Odysseus
Quick, seize him, both of you! Do not give him the chance!

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hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (4):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 326
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 1206
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 1245
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 1232
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (3):
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