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Enter Odysseus.

Chorus
Lord Odysseus, you arrive at the right time, if mediation, not division, is your purpose in coming.

Odysseus
What is the trouble, friends? From far off I heard shouting from the Atreidae over this brave man's corpse.

Agamemnon
[1320] Is it not because we, Lord Odysseus, have long had to hear the worst, most shameful language from this man?

Odysseus
How so? I can pardon a man a retaliatory barrage of abuse if another has insulted him.

Agamemnon
I insulted him, since his conduct toward me was of the same stripe.

Odysseus
[1325] And what did he do that harmed you?

Agamemnon
He declares that he will not leave this corpse without due burial, but will entomb it in spite of me.

Odysseus
Then may a friend speak the truth, and still remain your helpmate no less than before?

Agamemnon
[1330] Speak. Otherwise I would be less than sane, since I count you my greatest friend among all the Greeks.

Odysseus
Listen, then. In the name of the gods, do not let yourself so ruthlessly cast this man out unburied. Do not in any way let the violence of your hatred overcome you [1335] so much that you trample justice under foot. To me, too, this man was once the most hostile enemy in the army from the day on which I beat him for possession of Achilles' arms. Yet for all that he was hostile towards me, I would not dishonor him in return or refuse to admit [1340] that in all our Greek force at Troy he was, in my view, the best and bravest, excepting Achilles. It would not be just, then, that he should be dishonored by you. It is not he, but the laws given by the gods that you would damage. When a good man is dead, there is no justice [1345] in doing him harm, not even if you hate him.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (3):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 216-462
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 911-1085
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 520
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