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Enter from the skeneHermione, dressed and bejewelled in impressive style.

The finery of luxurious gold I have about my head and this variegated cloth I wear on my body—I did not wear coming these on my arrival here [150] as the first-fruits of the house of Achilles or of Peleus, but my father Menelaus gave them to me from the city of Sparta together with a large dowry, and therefore I may speak my mind. [So it is with these words that I reply to all of you.]

[155] But though you are a slave woman won by the spear, you mean to throw me out of this house and take possession of it: because of your poisons I am hated by my husband, and my womb is perishing unfruitful because of you. The minds of Asian women are clever [160] at such things. But I shall stop you from carrying out this plan, and the temple of the Nereid here will profit you not at all, not its altar or its sanctuary, but you will be put to death. If some god or mortal means to save your life, you must cease from those rich proud thoughts you once had [165] and cower in humility, fall at my feet, and sweep my house, scattering Achelous' water by hand from my gold-wrought vessels, and know where in the world it is you live. There is no Hector here, no Priam or his gold, but this is a Greek city. [170] But you, wretched woman, are so far gone in folly that you bring yourself to sleep with the son of the man who killed your husband and to bear children from those who are murderers of your kin. That is the way all barbarians are: father lies with daughter and son with mother [175] and brother with sister, nearest kin murder each other, and there is no law to stop any of this. Do not introduce such customs into our city. For it is also not right for one man to be in charge of two women. Rather, everyone who wants to live without pain [180] is content to look to a single mate for his bed.

Chorus Leader
The mind of a woman is a jealous thing and always ill-disposed towards rivals in love.

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Hermione (Greece) (1)

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