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τίς γὰρ ἐσθλός. Oedipus has hinted to the Chorus that he brings “ὄνησιν ἀστοῖς τοῖσδε”, but has reserved all explanation of his meaning until Theseus shall arrive (288). His exclamation here again touches on his secret; but, instead of interpreting εὐτυχής, he turns it off, for the present, by a quickly-added commonplace. "Does not experience, indeed, teach us that the benefactor of others is often his own?" The generous man, though he acts from no calculation of self-interest, actually serves himself by making zealous friends. Like thoughts are found in many popular shapes elsewhere: Il. 13.734῾οφ τηε μαν ωιτη νόος ἐσθλός καί τε πολέας ἐσάωσε, μάλιστά τέ κ᾽ αὐτὸς ἀνέγνω”, "he saveth many, yea, and he himself best recognises (the worth of wisdom)": Menander Sentent. 141ἐσθλῷ γὰρ ἀνδρί [ γ᾽ ] ἐσθλὰ καὶ διδοῖ θεός”: ib. 391ξένοις ἐπαρκῶν τῶν ἴσων τεύξῃ ποτέ”: Hortat. 23 χρηστός, ὡς ἔοικε, καὶ χρηστοὺς ποιεῖ”: pseudo - Philem. ap. Boissonad. Anecd. 1. 147μετέρχεται τὸ δίκαιον εἰς πλεονεξίαν”. Conversely, “οἷ αὐτῷ κακὰ τεύχει ἀνὴρ ἄλλῳ κακὰ τεύχων(Hes. Opp. 265), “λίαν φιλῶν σεαυτὸν οὐδ᾽ ἕξεις φίλον(Men. Sent. 310). We should not suppose a suppressed clause: ("I do not say, to himself,") "for what good man is not a friend to himself?" The interest of the king is identified with that of his realm. To distinguish them so sharply is unfitting here. Cp. 1124, 1496, 1553. The conjecture ἔσθ᾽ ὃς (for ἐσθλὸς) makes Oed. apologise for the selfishness of ἐμοί τε: "for who is not his own friend?" (!)

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Hesiod, Works and Days, 265
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 288
    • Homer, Iliad, 13.734
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