IPHIGENIA AT AULIS
A monologue from the play by Euripides
TRANSLATED BY F.M. STAWELL
|NOTE: This translation of Iphigenia at Aulis was originally published in 1929 by Oxford University Press.
- CLYTEMNESTRA: Then hear me now. I'll speak the naked truth,
- No dark hints now! By force you wedded me,
- I never loved you! Tantalus you slew,
- My first dear husband; and my little son,
- You tore him from my breast. And when my brothers,
- The sons of God, flashed to me on their steeds,
- My father pitied you, his suppliant,
- Gave me to you for wife. And a true wife I was,
- Yes, chaste and true, and cared well for your home.
- Such wives are not so common!--
- Three girls I bore you and a son, and now
- You rob me of the first! Your reason, pray,
- If men should ask it? O, I'll answer that--
- To win back Helen! Your own child for a wanton,
- Your dearest for a foe! A proper bargain!
- If you do this, if you are long at Troy,
- What will my heart be like, think you, at home,
- When I look on my daughter's empty chair,
- And empty room, sitting there all alone,
- Companied by my tears, still muttering,
- "Your father killed you, child, killed you himself!"
- What will your wages be when you come back?
- We who are left, we shall not want much urging
- To greet you with the welcome you deserve!
- O, by the gods, drive me not thus to sin,
- Nor sin yourself!
- If once you killed your child, how could you pray?
- What good thing ask for? Rather for defeat,
- Disgrace, and exile! Nor could I pray for you:
- We make fools of the gods if we suppose
- They can love murderers. If you come home,
- Will you dare kiss your girls? Or they dare come,
- That you may choose another for the knife?
- Have you once thought of this? Are you a man?
- Or nothing but a sceptre and a sword?
- You should have gone among the Greeks and said,
- "You wish to sail for Troy? Good, then draw lots,
- And see whose child must die." That had been fair;
- Or Menelaus should have slain his own,--
- Hermione for Helen. But I, the chaste,
- I must be robbed, and she come home in triumph
- To find her daughter! Answer, if I am wrong!
- If not, give up this murder! Sin no more!