No one is truly free, they are a slave to wealth, fortune, the law, or other people restraining them from acting according to their will.
Iphigenia in Tauris
You, who your savage dwellings hold
Nigh this inhospitable main,
'Gainst clashing rocks with fury roll'd,
From all but hallow'd words abstain.
Virgin queen, Latona's grace, joying in the mountain chase,
To thy court, thy rich domain,
To thy beauteous-pillar'd fane
Where our wondering eyes behold
Battlements that blaze with gold,
Thus my virgin steps I bend,
Holy, the holy to attend;
Servant, virgin queen, to thee;
Power, who bear'st life's golden key,
Far from Greece for steeds renown'd,
From her walls with towers crown'd,
From the beauteous-planted meads
Where his train Eurotas leads,
Visiting the loved retreats,
Once my father's royal seats.
Translation: Robert POTTER
(Appearing in a dragon-drawn chariot on the rooftop with the bodies in her arms)
Why are you shaking the doors and trying to force them open,
to find the bodies and me the perpetrator?
You are wasting your effort. If you need anything from me,
say so, but you will never touch me with your hand.
Such transport the Sun god, father of my father
has given me, a defense against the hand of my enemies. …..
You abomination, you vilest, most hateful woman,
to the gods and to me and to the whole human race.
You had the heart to take the sword to your own children
to whom you gave birth, and you have left me childless and devastated.
You did these things. How can you still look on the sunlight
and earth, after daring the most appalling deed?
Damn you. Now I see it, I didn't understand it then,
when I brought you, so hideous a monster, into Greece,
from your home and that barbarous land,
betrayer of your father and the country that reared you.
The gods have hurled you as an avenging spirit against me.
For you killed your brother at the hearth
and then boarded the beautiful ship Argo.
That is where you started. But after marrying
me and bearing my children,
because of the marriage bed you killed them.
There is no Greek woman who would have dared
such deeds, any of whom I could have married, but instead
chose you, a marriage tie that has ruined me,
a lioness, not a woman, with a temper
more savage than Tyrrhenian Scylla.
But not even ten thousand curses could
sting you. Such boldness is in you.
Go, you depraved murderer of your children.
What is left to me but to cry out for my fate?
I will not enjoy my new marriage,
and the children whom I fathered and brought up
I will never be able to speak to them alive, for I have lost them.
Translation: C.A.E. LUSCHNIG
Not for the first time I find our lives are a shadow, and I am not afraid to say that people who think they have everything figured out and are masters of logic - they are responsible for the greatest folly. No human being is happy. Strike it rich and you are luckier than your neighbour - but happy, never.
Gods often contradict
our fondest expectations.
What we anticipate
does not come to pass.
What we don't expect
some god finds a way to make it happen
I understand too well the dreadful act
I'm going to commit, but my judgement
can't check my anger, and that incites
the greatest evils human beings do
–For now I raise the old, old hymn to Dionysus.
–Blessèd, blessèd are those who know the mysteries of god.
–Blessèd is he who hallows his life in the worship of god,
he whom the spirit of god possesseth, who is one
with those who belong to the holy dance of god.
–Blessèd are the dancers and those who are purified.
who dance on the hill in the holy dance of god.
–Blessèd are they who keep the rite of Cybele the Mother.
–Blessèd are the thyrsus-bearers, those who wield in their hands
the holy wand of god.
–Blessèd are those who wear the crown of the ivy god.
–Blessèd, blessèd are they: Dionysus is their god!
–On, Bacchae, on you Bacchae,
bear your god in triumph home!
Bear on the god, son of god,
escort your Dionysus home!
Bear him down from Phrygian hill,
attend him through the streets of Hellas!
–So his mother bore him once
in labor bitter; lightening-struck,
forced by fire that flared from Zeus,
consumed, she died, untimely torn,
in childbed dead by blow of light!
Of light the son was born!
–Zeus it was who saved his son;
with speed outrunning mortal eye,
bore him to a private place,
bound the boy with clasps of gold;
in his thigh as in the womb,
concealed his son from Hera’s eyes.
Give me my horn-tipped bow, Apollo's gift, wherewith that god declared that I should defend myself against these goddesses, if ever they sought to scare me with wild transports of madness.
A mortal hand will wound one of these goddesses, unless she vanish from my sight. Do ye not heed me, or mark the feathered shaft of my far-shooting bow ready to wing its flight? What! do ye linger still? Spread your pinions, skim the sky, and blame those oracles of Phoebus.
Ah! why am I raving, panting, gasping? Whither, oh! whither have leapt from off my couch? Once more the storm is past; I see a calm.
Sister, why weepest thou, thy head wrapped in thy robe? I am ashamed that I should make thee a partner in my sufferings and distress a maid like thee through sickness of mine. Cease to fret for my troubles; for though thou didst consent to it, yet 'twas I that spilt our mother's blood. 'Tis Loxias I blame, for urging me on to do a deed most damned, encouraging me with words but no real help; for I am sure that, had I asked my father to his face whether I was to slay my mother, he would have implored me oft and earnestly by this beard never to plunge a murderer's sword into my mother's breast, since he would not thereby regain his life, whilst I, poor wretch, should be doomed to drain this cup of sorrow.
E'en as it is, dear sister, unveil thy face and cease to weep, despite our abject misery; and whensoe'er thou seest me give way to despair, be it thine to calm and soothe the terrors and distorted fancies of my brain; likewise when sorrow comes to thee, I must be at thy side and give the words of comfort; for to help our friends like this is a gracious task.
Seek thy chamber now, poor sister; lie down and close awhile thy sleepless eyes; take food and bathe thy body; for if thou leave me or fall sick from nursing me, my doom is sealed; for thou art the only champion I now have, by all the rest deserted, as thou seest.