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The man who taught men to listen to tales proceeding from their enemies made a wise invention. Because I had learned of the confusion in this house [960] and the strife between you and Hector's wife, I stood watch and waited to see whether you would remain here or, frightened by the murderous attempt on the slave-woman, you would wish to be gone from this house. And it was not out of respect for any commands of yours that I came [965] but so that if you should give me the chance to talk to you, as you are now doing, I might escort you from this house. For you were mine to begin with, and you are married to Neoptolemus only by the baseness of your father. Before he attacked Troy, he gave you to me to be my wife, but later he promised you [970] to your present husband as a reward if he sacked Troy. When Achilles' son came home to this land, I forgave your father, but Neoptolemus I begged to relinquish his marriage to you. I told him of my evil fortunes and my present fate, how I could marry [975] the daughter of a kindred house but only with difficulty one from outside because of the exile from country that I am suffering. But he was haughty and spoke insultingly to me about the murder of my mother and the goddesses whose eyes drip blood.1 Since I was humiliated because of my troubles at home, [980] I put up with my misfortune, though in great pain, and went away against my will, robbed of you as my wife. But now, since your fortunes are in ruins and you have fallen into this calamity and are helpless, I shall take you home and give you into the hand of your father. [985] For the tie of blood is strangely powerful, and in the hour of misfortune there is nothing better than a friend who is kin.

My father shall concern himself with my marriage: it is not for me to decide this. But take me with all speed out of this house [990] so that my husband may not arrive home first and catch me, or old Peleus learn that I am abandoning the house and come after me in hot pursuit.

Do not trouble yourself about interference from the old man. As for the son of Achilles, do not fear him for all his insolence toward me. [995] To free you from this fear, there is a cunningly wrought death-trap that stands in his path with a noose that cannot be thrust aside. I shall not reveal this trap beforehand, but the rock of Delphi shall come to know of my plans as they are brought to fulfilment. I, the matricide, provided the oaths [1000] of my allies in Delphi hold fast, shall teach him not to marry a bride that is rightfully mine. His demand to Lord Apollo for satisfaction for his father's death shall prove costly to him. His change of heart shall do him no good but the god will punish him. [1005] Both by Apollo's will and because of my slanders against him he will die a painful death, and he shall know the enmity of the god. For the god overturns the fortunes of his enemies and does not allow them to be proud.Exit by Eisodos B Orestes and Hermione.

1 The Erinyes, who pursue Orestes for the murder of his mother.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 81
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