Aeschylus, Eumenides (English) (XML Header) [genre: poetry; drama; tragedy] [word count] [Aesch. Eum.].
<<Aesch. Eum. 558 Aesch. Eum. 566 (Greek) >>Aesch. Eum. 607


Enter, in procession, Athena, a herald, the jury of the Areopagus, a crowd of citizens. Orestes removes to the place appointed for the accused. Apollo appears after Athena's first speech.

Athena Herald, give the signal and restrain the crowd; and let the piercing Tyrrhenian [Note] trumpet, filled with human breath, send forth its shrill blare to the people! For while this council-hall is filling, 570it is good to be silent, and for my ordinances to be learned, by the whole city for everlasting time, and by these appellants, so that their case may be decided well.

Enter Apollo.

Chorus Lord Apollo, be master of what is yours. Say what part you have in this matter. 575

Apollo I have come both to bear witness—for this man was a lawful suppliant and a guest of my sanctuary, and I am his purifier from bloodshed—and to be his advocate myself. I am responsible for the murder of his mother. 580 To Athena.Bring in the case, and, in accordance with your wisdom, decide it.

Athena To the Furies.It is for you to speak—I am only bringing in the case; for the prosecutor at the beginning, speaking first, shall rightly inform us of the matter.

Chorus We are many, but we will speak briefly. 585 To Orestes.Answer our questions, one by one. Say first if you killed your mother.

Orestes I killed her. There is no denial of this.

Chorus Of the three falls that win the wrestling match, this one is already ours.

Orestes You make this boast over a man who is not down yet. 590

Chorus You must, however, say how you killed her.

Orestes I will say it: with drawn sword in hand, I stabbed her in the throat.

Chorus By whom were you persuaded and on whose advice?

Orestes By the oracles of this god here; he is my witness.

Chorus The prophet directed you to kill your mother? 595

Orestes Yes, and to this very hour, I do not blame my fortune.

Chorus But if the jury's vote catches hold of you, you'll soon speak differently.

Orestes I have good confidence. My father will send protection from his grave.

Chorus Put your confidence in the dead now, after you have killed your mother!

Orestes I do, for she was twice afflicted with pollution. 600

Chorus How so? Teach the judges this.

Orestes By murdering her husband, she killed my father.

Chorus And so, although you are alive, she is free of pollution by her death. [Note]

Orestes But why did you not drive her into exile, while she lived?

Chorus She was not related by blood to the man she killed. 605

Orestes Then am I my mother's kin by blood?

Aeschylus, Eumenides (English) (XML Header) [genre: poetry; drama; tragedy] [word count] [Aesch. Eum.].
<<Aesch. Eum. 558 Aesch. Eum. 566 (Greek) >>Aesch. Eum. 607

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