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Oedipus
[960] Shameless arrogance, where do you think this outrage falls—on my old age, or on your own? Bloodshed, incest, misery—all this your tongue has launched against me, and all this I have borne in my wretchedness by no choice of mine. [965] For this was dear to the gods, who were angry, perhaps, with my race from of old. Taking me alone, you could not find a reproach for any crime, in retribution for which I was driven to commit these sins against myself and against my kin. Tell me now: if, by the voice of an oracle, some divine doom was coming on my father, [970] that he should die by a son's hand, how could you justly reproach me with this, when I was then unborn, when no father had yet begotten me, no mother's womb conceived me? But if, having been born to misery—as I was born—I came to blows with my father and slew him, ignorant of what [975] I was doing and to whom, how could you reasonably blame the unwitting deed? And my mother—wretch, do you feel no shame in forcing me to speak of her marriage, when she was your sister, and when it was such as I will now tell? [980] For I will not be silent, when you have gone so far in impious speech.

Yes, she was my mother, yes—alas, for my miseries! I did not know it, nor did she, and to her shame she bore children to the son whom she had borne. [985] But one thing, at least, I know: that you willingly revile her and me, but I did not willingly marry her, and I do not willingly speak now. No, I will not be called evil on account of this marriage, nor in the slaying of my father, which you charge me with again and again in bitter insult. [990] Answer just one thing of those I ask. If, here and now, someone should come up and try to murder you—you, the just one—would you ask if the murderer was your father, or would you revenge yourself on him straightaway? [995] I think that if your life is dear to you, you would requite the criminal, and not look around for a justification. Such then were the evils into which I came, led by the gods; and in this, I think, my father's soul, could it come back to life, would not contradict me. [1000] But you are not just; you are one who considers it a fine thing to utter every sort of word, both those which are sanctioned and those which are forbidden—such are your taunts against me in the presence of these men. And to you it seems a fine thing to flatter the renowned Theseus, and Athens, saying how well it is governed. [1005] Yet while giving such generous praise, you forget that if any land knows how to worship the gods with honors, this land excels in that. It is from her that you had planned to steal me, a suppliant and an old man, and tried to seize me, having already carried off my daughters. [1010] Therefore I now call on the goddesses here, I supplicate them, I beseech them with prayers, to bring me help and to fight on my behalf, that you may learn well what kind of men this city is guarded by.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 155
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