Agamemnon – Monologue (Cassandra)

A monologue from the play by Aeschylus


Ah, ah the fire! it waxes, nears me now–
Woe, woe for me, Apollo of the dawn!
Lo, how the woman-thing, the lioness
Couched with the wolf–her noble mate afar–
Will slay me, slave forlorn! Yea, like some witch,
She drugs the cup of wrath, that slays her lord,
With double death–his recompense for me!
Ay, ’tis for me, the prey he bore from Troy,
That she hath sworn his death, and edged the steel!
Ye wands, ye wreaths that cling around my neck,
Ye showed me prophetess yet scorned of all–
I stamp you into death, or e’er I die–
Down, to destruction! Thus I stand revenged–
Go, crown some other with a prophet’s woe.
Lookl it is he, it is Apollo’s self
Rending from me the prophet-robe he gave.
God! while I wore it yet, thou saw’st me mocked
There at my home by each malicious mouth–
To all and each, an undivided scorn.
The name alike and fate of witch and cheat–
Woe, poverty, and famine–all I bore;
And at this last the god hath brought me here
Into death’s toils, and what his love had made,
His hate unmakes me now: and I shall stand
Not now before the altar of my home,
But me a slaughter-house and block of blood
Shall see hewn down, a reeking sacrifice.
Yet shall the gods have heed of me who die,
For by their will shall one requite my doom.
He, to avenge his father’s blood outpoured,
Shall smite and slay with matricidal hand.
Ay, he shall come–tho’ far away he roam,
A banished wanderer in a stranger’s land–
To crown his kindred’s edifice of ill,
Called home to vengeance by his father’s fall:
Thus have the high gods sworn, and shall fulfil.
And now why mourn I, tarrying on earth,
Since first mine Ilion has found its fate
And I beheld, and those who won the wall
Pass to such issue as the gods ordain?
I too will pass and like them dare to die!
(She turns and looks upon the palace door.)
Portal of Hades, thus I bid thee hail!
Grant me one boon–a swift and mortal stroke,
That all unwrung by pain, with ebbing blood
Shed forth in quiet death, I close mine eyes.

Read the play here

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