Oedipus At Colonus Monologue
|Oedipus At Colonus Monologue by Sophocles|
- OEDIPUS: O front of impudence! Which thinkest thou
- Now to defile--My grey hairs, or thine own?
- Who hast spit forth out of thy mouth at me
- Murders and marriages and accidents,
- Which to my grief, not of free will, I suffered;
- Such was the will of Heaven, that had some cause
- For wrath, it may be, with out house, of old.
- Since for myself, I know you cannot find
- Any reproach of wrongfulness in me,
- That could have doomed me to commit these wrongs
- Against myself and mine; for, answer me,
- If to my father by an oracle
- The revelation came that he should die
- By his son's hands, how can you justly tax
- Me with the fact, whom neither father yet
- Then had begot, or mother had conceived,
- Me, who as yet had not begun to me?
- And if thereafter proving--as I proved--
- Hapless, I did lay hands upon my sire
- And slay him, nowise knowing what I did,
- Nor yet to whom I did it, how, I ask,
- Can you with reason blame the unconscious deed!
- And for my mother--are you not ashamed,
- O miserable! at forcing me to name
- Her marriage, your own sister's--as I will--
- I will not now be silent, you being grown
- To such a monster of outspokenness!
- She bare--ah, yes, unknowingly she bare
- Me--who not knew! Woe worth the while to me
- And having given me birth, she brought me forth
- Children--her own reproach! But of set purpose,
- For one thing, well I know, you spit this venom
- On her, and me; whereas I wedded her
- Unwitting, and unwillingly speak of it.
- But not for this my marriage, nor for that--
- That parricide, which you continually
- Throw in my teeth, bitterly upbraiding it,
- Do I consent to be called infamous.
- For answer me a question; but this one;
- If any person here upon the spot
- Drew near to kill you--you the just one--whether
- Would you enquire if he that sought your life
- Were your own father, or requite him straight?
- You would requite the offender, I conceive,
- If you love life; not look about for law.
- Just such was the misfortune I incurred,
- Led by the hand of Heaven; for which, I fancy,
- Not even my father's spirit, were he alive,
- Could say one word against me. And yet you--
- (For just you are not, but think well to utter
- All things, both lawful and unlawful,) you
- Slander me with these sayings before them all!
- Yea, you make free to fawn on Theseus' name,
- And upon Athens--how decorously
- She hath been ordered; and so lauding her,
- You miss out this, that if there be a land
- That knows what reverence to the Gods is due,
- 'Tis she herein excels, whence to remove
- Me, the old suppliant, you assail my person,
- And seize my daughters, and make off with them.
- Wherefore these maiden Powers I invoke
- With supplications, and with prayers adjure
- To come, as aiders and auxiliaries;
- So you may learn what sort of men they are,
- By whom this city is defended.
Credits: Reprinted from Dramas. Sophocles. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1906.