O Helenus, I need you now,
interpreter of dreams!
Help me, Cassandra,
help me read my dreams!
I saw a little doe, a dappled doe, torn from between my knees,
cruelly ripped away, mangled by a wolf with blood-red claw!
And then fresh terror rose:
I saw Achilles' ghost
stalk upon his tomb,
demanding a prize,
one of the wretched women of Troy.
But now I die,
and you must see my death--
butchered like a calf,
like a wild mountain beast's young,
ripped from you arms,
throat cut, and sinking
downward into dark
with the unconsolable dead.
For the last, last time
I look upon this gleaming circle of the sun
and speak the last words I shall ever say.
O wind of ocean,
wind that blows on the sea
and drives the scudding ships,
where are you blowing me?
Where shall I be slave?
Where is there home for me?
There in distant Doris,
or in Phthia far away
where men say Apidanus runs,
father of waters, river whose lovely flowing
fattens the fields?
Or there in the islands?
The salt sea churning, borne on by oars,
to days of mourning in the house,
there with the primal palm
and the bay broke out their leaves
for lovely Leto
in honor of her son?
There shall I sing with the maidens of Delos,
bow and fillets of gold?
But goodness can be taught,
and any man who knows what goodness is
knows evil too, because he judges
from the good.
Grief, and worse than grief,
necessity surrounds us.
One man's folly made
a doom shared by all,
ruin over Simois.
Paris sat as judge
upon three goddesses.
His verdict was war.
I am not saying that Euripedes is a bad writer (quite the contrary, I like him, especially The Bacchae: there is nothing like it on recorded literature), but we can realized just how great Shakespeare is when we compare his poetry to that of other poets who are considered supreme in the world of letters.
There is nothing like the imagistic inventiveness and metaphorical effervescence of Shakespeare even in the most poetic passages from Euripides body of work.
O my son, my son,
now the awful dirge begins,
the fiend, the fury,
singing, wailing in me now,
I am a slave, I know,
and slaves are weak. But the gods are strong, and over them
there stands the law that governs all. It is
by virtue of this law that we believe
the gods exist, and by this law we live,
distinguishing good from evil.
Apply that law
now. For if you flout it, so that those
who murder their own guests defy the gods
so unpunished, then human justice withers,
corrupted at its source.
One word more,
If by magic, some gift of the gods,
I could become all speech-- tongues in my arms,
hands that talked, voices from my hair and feet--
then, all together, I'd fall and touch your knees,
crying, begging, imploring with a thousand tongues--
Aegyptus' sons. Women emptied Lemnos
of its males: they murdered ever one. And so,
it shall be here.
This is my reward, Agamemnon,
for my efforts in disposing of your enemy.
One word more.
On behalf of all those dead
who learned their hatred of women long ago,
for those who hate them now, for those unborn
who shall love to hate them yet, I now declare
my firm conviction:
neither earth nor ocean
produces a creature as savage and as monstrous
as woman. Any man who has ever met one
will know that this is true.
Perhaps you think it but a trifling matter
to kill a guest.
Well, we Greeks call it murder.
... Cynossema, 'the bitch's grave,' a landmark
but a bath of blood waits for you in Argos.
Then throw him on some desert island
since his tongue cannot stop its impudence.
>There is nothing like the imagistic inventiveness and metaphorical effervescence of Shakespeare even in the most poetic passages from Euripides body of work.
Indeed. I open my volume of the Complete Works at random, and see this:
Here's a stay
That shakes the rotten carcass of old Death
Out of his rags! Here's a large mouth, indeed,
That spits forth death and mountains, rocks and seas,
Talks as familiarly of roaring lions
As maids of thirteen do of puppy-dogs!
What cannoneer begot this lusty blood?
He speaks plain cannon fire, and smoke and bounce;
He gives the bastinado with his tongue:
Our ears are cudgell'd; not a word of his
But buffets better than a fist of France:
Zounds! I was never so bethump'd with words
Since I first call'd my brother's father dad.
This guy is special case.
Finished Medea last night for my world lit class.
I liked it quite a bit despite the
serpent escape. Medea was a surprisingly complex character. To me, it felt like one of her main motivations was to appease her pride; she even takes her children's pride into consideration and kills them to spare them the shame of being related to her. I got the feeling that her pride was sort of an inviolable aspect of her personality that would not soften, even if it meant killing her own children.
Nah, it just appears that way since it's written in english that you fully understand. You loose a ton by reading Euripides translated. Shakespeare was always very liberal with his metre use, the greeks were brilliant in theirs, but you simply don't see that unless you understand greek.
"The island had the name of Black Bear Mountain,
and there were savage Earthborn giants on it,
great wonders for the locals to behold:
six rippling arms grew out of each of them--
two sprouting out of their colossal shoulders,
four farther down along their frightening flanks." (1258-1263) Jason and the Argonauts, Apollonius of Rhodes