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Electra
Dear sister, let none of these offerings in your hands touch the tomb. For neither divine law nor piety allows you to dedicate funeral gifts or bring libations to our father from his hateful wife. [435] No! To the winds with them! Or cover them in a deep, dusty hole, where not one of them will ever come near our father's resting place. Rather let these treasures be preserved for her below when she dies. Were she not by nature the most audacious [440] of all women, she would never at all have tried to pour these ill-willed offerings to the man she killed. Consider whether you believe that the dead in his tomb will welcome this tribute with affection towards her, by whose hand he died dishonored and was mutilated [445] like an enemy? She, who, as if to wash herself clean, wiped off the bloodstains on his head? Surely you do not believe that your bringing these things will absolve her of the murder?

It is not possible. No, be rid of them. Give him instead a lock of your hair's ends, cut from your own head, [450] and from wretched me, too, give these gifts, poor as they are, though all I have. Take this hair, not glossy with unguents, and this girdle, decked with no rich ornament. Then fall down and pray that he himself may come in kindness to us from the world below, a helper against our enemies; [455] and that young Orestes may live to set his foot upon our enemies in superior might, so that hereafter we may crown our father's tomb with wealthier hands than those with which we honor him now.

I think, yes, I think that he too had some part [460] in sending her these appalling dreams. Still, sister, do yourself this service and help me, and him, too, that most beloved of all men, who rests in Hades' domain, our shared father.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 662
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