A monologue from the play by Sophocles
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Dramas. Sophocles. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1906.
Well, it is strange that you, being his child
Who was your sire, should have regard for her,
Your mother, and have quite forgotten him!
All this good counsel you bestow on me
Is of her teaching; and of your own self
You can say nothing. Therefore take your choice;
Either to be of evil mind, or else
Well minded to forget those dear to you;
Who said but now, if you could get the power,
You would show plain the hate you have for them;
And yet, while I am doing everything
To avenge our father, do not take your part,
And seek to turn me from it, who take mine!
Danger! Is their not cowardice as well?
Come, answer me, what should it profit me
To cease my mourning? Or else hear me speak;
Do I not live? Unprosperously I know,
But well enough for me; to them, the while,
I am a torment, and so render honour
To him that’s gone, if there be service there!
You–madam hatress–you pretend to hate,
But really take your father’s murderers’ side!
For my part, I well never bend to them;
Not though a man should come and offer me
These gauds of yours, in which you glory now!
Yours be the full-spread board, the cup o’erflowing;
For me–be it my only sustenance
Not to offend my conscience. Thus,
I do not ask to share your dignities,
And were you well-advised, no more would you!
But now, though it be in your power to be called
Your father’s child–the foremost of mankind,
Be called–your mother’s! So you shall appear
In most men’s eyes unmeritoriously,
False to your friends, and to your father’s shade.