Greek Ethical Thought from Homer to the Stoics

By Hilda D. Oakeley | Go to book overview

EURIPIDES
480-406 B.C.

Born at Salamis, said to have written about ninety plays, of which nineteen survive. "Even if faulty in various ways, at any rate clearly the most tragic of the poets" ( ARISTOTLE).

Greek Text: Poetae Scenici Graeci, Guil. Dindorfii. Translation: ProfessorGilbert Murray.


Friendship

IPHIGENIA IN TAURIS 597.

Iphigenia offers Orestes (whom she does not yet know to be her brother) his life if he will bear a message for her to Argos. Pylades must remain as the sacrifice required by Artemis of all strangers who land on the island.

Orestes. Strange woman, as thou biddest let it be,
Save one thing. 'Twere for me a heavy weight
Should this man die. 'Tis I and mine own fate
That steer our goings. He but sails with me
Because I suffer much. It must not be
That by his ruin I should 'scape mine own,
And win thy grace withal. 'Tis simply done.
Give him the tablet. He with faithful will
Shall all thy best in Argolis fulfil.
And I . . . who cares may kill me. Vile is he
Who leaves a friend in peril and goes free
Himself. And, as it chances, this is one
Right dear to me; his life is as my own.

( Pylades appears to accept this in silence. Later, when Iphigenia has left them)--


674.

Pylades. I cannot live for shame if thou art dead.
I sailed together with thee; let us die
Together. What a coward slave were I,
Creeping through Argos and from glen to glen
Of wind-torn Phocian hills! And most of men--

-29-

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