A monologue from the play by Sophocles
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Greek Dramas. Ed. Bernadotte Perrin. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1904.
Yea, this, my son, should by thy heart’s fixed law–in all things to obey thy father’s will. ‘Tis for this that men pray to see dutiful children grow up around them in their homes–
that such may requite their father’s foe with evil, and honour, as their father doth, his friend. But he who begets unprofitable children–
what shall we say that he hath sown, but troubles for himself, and much triumph for his foes? Then do not thou,
my son, at pleasure’s beck, dethrone thy reason for a woman’s sake; knowing that this is a joy that soon grows cold in clasping arms–
an evil woman to share thy bed and thy home. For what wound could strike deeper than a false friend? Nay, with loathing,
and as if she were thine enemy, let this girl go to find a husband in the house of Hades. For since I have taken her,
alone of all the city, in open disobedience, I will not make myself a liar to my people–I will slay her. So let her appeal as she will to the majesty of kindred blood.
If I am to nurture mine own kindred in naughtiness, needs must I bear with it in aliens. He who does violence to the laws,
or thinks to dictate to his rulers, such a one can win no praise from me. No, whomsoever the city may appoint,
that man must be obeyed, in little things and great, in just things and unjust; and I should feel sure that one who thus obeys would be a good ruler no less than a good subject,
and in the storm of spears would stand his ground where he was set, loyal and dauntless at his comrade’s side.
But disobedience is the worst of evils. This it is that ruins cities; this makes homes desolate; by this, the ranks of allies are broken into headlong rout:
but, of the lives whose course is fair, the greater part owes safety to obedience. Therefore we must support the cause of order, and in no wise suffer a woman to worst us.
Better to fall from power, if we must, by a man’s hand; then we should not be called weaker than a woman.