PRIMARY SOURCE QUOTES
WEEK 4 – SOPHOKLES’ PHILOTECTES
o “You are sick with this pain by DIVINE FORTUNE (ek theias tuches), since you approached the
guardian of CHRYSE, the hidden, indwelling serpent that guards the roofless shrine.”
o Neoptolemos to Philoctetes convincing him to come with them
o ODYSSEUS “I know well, my son, that by nature you were not born to CONTRIVE such things
or utter such evils. Since, however, the possession of victory is something sweet to gain, bring
yourself to do it; we‟ll appear to be JUST on another occasion.”
o Prologue where Odysseus and Neoptolemus are plotting – the former believes only deception
will work while the latter wants to use force and persuasion
o ODYSSEUS “Son of a brave and noble father, when I was young I too once had an idle tongue
and an active hand. But now, as I go forth to the test, I see that among mortals it‟s SPEECH
(GLOSSA), not ACTION, that leads the way in all things.”
o Characterization of Odysseus in the prologue as callous, suspicious, and manipulative
o ODYSSEUS “I‟ll waste the whole CLEVER PLAN (sophisma) by which I expect to catch him
o ODYSSEUS “When you do something for PROFIT, it‟s not appropriate to hesitate.”
o ODYSSEUS “Now understand why contact with this man is impossible for me but SAFE and
TRUSTWORTHY for you: you have set sail bound by oath to no man and on no compulsion, nor
were you part of the first expedition. So if he catches sight of me while master of his bow, I AM
o Anti-heroic and manipulative Odysseus
o ODYSSEUS “He (= PHILOCTETES) has inescapable arrows that send forth DEATH”
o PHILO “Clearly it‟s a heavy sound...It hits me, it hits me...the heavy, far-off cry of a worn-out man
does not escape me.”
o During the Parados, Sophocles already has the audience building sympathy for Philoctetes
o PHILO “I‟m lost, my child, and I won‟t be able to hide the trouble from you. Aah! It goes through
me! O wretched me! I‟m lost, child! My child, I‟m being eaten alive! Aah! Aah, aah, aah, aah!!
o Dramatizes the pain and disease that Philoctetes suffers from during the second epeisodeion
NEO. The burden of your sickness is terrible! [...] What should I do, then?
PHIL. Don‟t abandon me, out of fear! she comes after an interval, the disease, perhaps when
she‟s had enough of wandering
o Disease is gendered and characterized as a female monster
o Only female presence in the entire play
o NEO “I don‟t know where I should turn my perplexed words”
o After Philoctetes awakens and is told the truth- but Odysseus wants to leave now that they have
o NEO “Will I be found worthless a second time, hiding what I must not hide and speaking the
most shameful of words?” o Philoctetes doesn‟t want them to leave and Neoptolemos is put in a tough situation
o NEO “Everything is unpleasant, when a man abandons his own nature (physis) and does what is
o Division between what is natural and what is proper
o ODYSSEUS “Give yourself to me now for a brief portion of a day for something shameful”
o Tries to mentor Neoptolemos and steer him away from his Achillean and family traditions
o NEO “A strange pity for this man has taken hold of me, not for the first time now, but long since.”
o After Philoctetes wakes up and Odysseus wants to leave since they have the bow, but
Neoptolemos starts feeling bad for abandoning Philo
o Shows his increasing maturity, transition into manhood, and the transformation into Philo‟s son
rather than Odysseus‟ pupil
o CHORUS “When it was possible for you to think rationally, you chose to embrace the worse, not
the better destiny”
o Speaking to Philoctetes during the kommos
o PHILO “Ah me, what should I do? How can I mistrust the words of this man who advises me with
good will? But should I give way, then? How, if I do this, ill-fated as I am, will come into anyone‟s
sight? Who would speak to me?
o Philoctetes is not perfect and has his own limits
o He may be morally superior to Odysseus, but his integrity is inseparable from his rage that
dooms him to isolation and death
o NEO “If this is your decision, let‟s set forth”
o He agrees to leave with Odysseus, still demonstrating some subservience
o He has clearly transformed during the play, but this line near the end makes the transformation
not entirely clear
WEEK 6 – SOPHOCLES’ ANTIGONE
ll. 182-83 “and anyone thinking another man more a friend than his own country, I rate him nowhere”
o Creon in the first epeisodion laying out the admirable qualities of a ruler – law and order and
o After the prologue where Antigone fails to convince Ismene to agree on burying Polyneikes‟
Ll. 810-16, 872-77
o “I am alive but Hades who gives sleep to everyone is leading me to the
shores of Acheron,
though I have known nothing of marriage songs nor the chant that brings the bride to bed. My
husband is to be the Lord of Death.”
o Antigone is isolated in the cave and says this during the kommos
o “There is a certain reverence for piety. But for him in authority, he cannot see that authority
defied; IT IS YOUR OWN SELF-WILLED TEMPER THAT HAS DESTROYED YOU”
o Chorus reminds Antigone of the cruel Creon and Antigone‟s actions that have put her in this
CHORUS “I think you have learned justice–but too late.
o CREON “Yes, I have learned it to my bitterness. At this moment God has sprung on my head
with a vast weight and struck me down.
o CREON “Lead me away, a vain silly man who killed you, son, and you, too, lady. [...] A most
unwelcome fate has leaped upon me.”
o Both of these quotes occur after the death of Haemon, Antigone, and immediately following the announced death of Eurydice
o ANTIGONE “I did not believe your proclamation had such power to enable one who will
someday die to override God‟s ordinances, unwritten and secure (AGRAPTA KASPHALE
THEON NOMIMA). They are not of today and yesterday; they live forever; none knows when
first they were. These are the laws whose penalties I would not incur from the GODS, through
fear of any man‟s temper.”
o Her confrontation with Creon
o TEIREISIAS “These acts of yours are violence, on your part. And in requital the avenging Spirits
of Death itself and the gods‟ Furies shall after your deeds, lie in ambush for you, and in their
hands you shall be taken cruelly”
o Teireisias describes the guilt that Creon is now realizing he must live with
o CHORUS “Wisdom is far the chief element in happiness and, secondly, no irreverence towards
o Divine rules overrule human laws
o KREON “There is nothing worse than disobedience to authority. It destroys cities, it demolishes
homes; it breaks and routs one‟s allies. There is nothing worse than disobedience to authority.”
o His response to Antigone‟s argument that there are some unwritten laws that should be followed,
whatever the city laws may say
o CREON Should the city tell me how I am to rule them?
HAEMON There is no city possessed by one man only.
CREON Is not the city thought to be the ruler‟s?
HAEMON You would be a fine dictator of a desert.
o Creon‟s beliefs not only destroy his whole family but act as a threat against Thebes
Look on me, princes of Thebes, the last remnant of the old royal line; see what I
suffer and who makes me suffer because I gave reverence to what claims reverence
o She doesn‟t care what citizens think or will think of her – she is currently being punished for
doing the right thing
o HAEMON “Surely what she merits is golden honor, isn‟t it?”
o Testament to Creon regarding the morality of Antigone (defending her)
CREON It seems this boy is on the WOMAN‟s side. Your nature is vile, in yielding to a
WOMAN. You WOMAN‟s slave, do not try to wheedle me.
o Creon‟s rebuttal to his son, where he partially demeans him by associating him with the agenda
of a woman
o ANTIGONE “I have known nothing of MARRIAGE SONGS nor the chant that brings the bride to
o The prospect of attachment to any group other than her father‟s /brother‟s family is viewed as a
ANTIGONE ”I shall lie by his side, loving him as he loved me; the time in which I must please
those that are dead is longer than I must please those of this world.”
o Antigone to Ismene, trying to convince her it is their duty to bury their brother‟s body
o “You ought to realize we are only women, not meant in nature to fight against men”
o Ismene, who ends up being the only surviving female in the play
o “She did not deny a word of it–to my joy, but to my pain as well. It is most pleasant to have escaped oneself out of such troubles but painful to bring into it those whom we love. However, it
is but natural for me to count all this less than my own escape.”
o Guard describing how he caught Antigone with the dead body
WEEK 6 – SOPHOKLES’ OEDIPUS AT COLONUS
Ll. 668-719 (FIRST STASIMON)
o CHORUS Here are the fairest homesteads of the world,
here in this country, famed for its
horses, stranger, where you have come...It shall not be rendered impotent
by the young nor by
him that lives with old age, destroying it with violence,
for the ever-living eye of Morian
looks upon it – and gray-eyed Athene also...
o Ode to Colonus, death place of Oedipus and home of Sophocles
o Propagating Athens since Colonus is a suburb in Attica
o CHORUS “Courage!
That safety shall be yours. If I am old, the strength of Attica has not grown
o The Chorus reassures OEDIPUS and the audience that the greatness of Athens endures.
o OEDIPUS “On the day itself when my spirit seethed, and death was dearest to me, yes, death
by stoning, no one would help me to it. But when time had gone by, and all the agony had
mellowed, when I felt my agony had outrun itself in punishing my former sins–it was then and
then the city drove me out [...] and THESE SONS of mine could have helped me, their father, but
they would not. [...] I WAS BANISHED, A BEGGAR, TO WANDER FOREVER”
o Speaking to the chorus before the arrival of Theseus
OEDIPUS I come to give you this wretched carcass of mine (ATHLION DEMAS), a gift to you;
to look at, no great matter, but no beautiful body will give you such gains as it will.
THESEUS What is this gain you claim to bring with you?
OEDIPUS In time you will know–but the time is not yet, I think.
THESEUS When will your benefit be shown?
OEDIPUS When I die and YOU SHALL HAVE BEEN MY BURIAL MAN
o Shows how this is an unusual suppliant drama; Oedipus never makes a formal plea
o He has leverage given the mysterious value of his body
o OEDIPUS “I will direct you, son of AEGEUS, in what shall be a treasure for this city. Old age
shall not decay it. Immediately I will show the way without a hand to guide me to the place where
I must die. And you, describe this to no man, ever, neither where it is hidden nor in what region,
that doing so may make you a defense beyond the worth of many shields, or many neighbors‟
o Talking to Theseus and establishing his own hero cult as long as he is provided a haven in
o He finds honor in a city who he will help by having his body reside there
o MESSENGER “
It was no fiery thunderbolt of God that made away with him, nor a sea
hurricane rising; no, it was some messenger sent by the gods, or some power of the dead split
open the fundament of earth, with good will, to give him PAINLESS entry. He was sent on his
way with no accompaniment of tears, no pain of sickness; IF ANY MAN ENDED
MIRACULOUSLY, this man did.”
o Describing the death of Oedipus after the thunderbolt noise and his departure into the grove
o CHORUS “a wanderer in need of the small gift of protection, with small needs and desires;
complete dependence on ANTIGONE”
o OEDIPUS “Then may they (= the Eumenides) be gentle to the suppliant. FOR I SHALL NEVER
LEAVE this resting place.” o Trying to enforce some kind of control
o He recalls an older prophecy and believes the sign of the Eumenides denotes the end of his
o THESEUS No oath will give you more than my bare word
OEDIPUS What will you do then–
THESEUS What is it you fear most?
OEDIPUS Some will come here–
THESEUS My friends will take care of that
OEDIPUS See you do not fail me–
THESEUS Do not tell me my duty.
o Oedipus keeps pressing Theseus about keeping his deal and protecting him just in case Creon
o Shows a lot of analysis of his own and others guilt and responsibility
Ll. 86-93 (OEDIPUS prays to the EUMENIDES)
o OEDIPUS “For Phoebus when he prophesied those horrors, those many horrors for me, yet said
that at the last I should find rest here, in this final country, when I should gain the haunt of the
Dread Goddesses, a place of hospitality for strangers. There I should round my wretched life‟s
last lap, a gain for those who settled me, received me, but a curse to those that drove me out.”
o Beginning of the play, setting the stage for his future place of death
o Conclusion of play is made very clear from the beginning
o CREON Greet this city kindly – of course she has deserved it! – but your own country should be
honored more, in justice, for she bred you up at first.
o Talking to Oedipus. Be nice to Athens but remember where you came from and honor this the
Ll. 771, 774-75
OEDIPUS And now again, when you see this city FRIENDLY to my staying, when you see all
the people FRIENDLY, you try to tear me out, the harshness of your message so softly
o Response to Creon after he is told to keep in mind his home city Thebes
L. 891 (to THESEUS)
o OEDIPUS Oh dearest of men (PHILOS)?
o Shows their strong friendship and Oedipus new attachment to Athens
o OEDIPUS “Had I not begotten these children to be my nurses I had been dead, for all you did to
help. Now it is they who save me, these very nurses. THEY ARE MEN, NOT WOMEN, in
bearing troubles with me. YOU ARE NO SONS of mine, you are someone else‟s.”
o Addressing his son Polyneikes after his entrance on stage
o The son is contrasted with Antigone who shows her father charis
o ANTIGONE “You BEGOT him; even if what he does to you is the most impious of all that is vile,
you ought not, father, to match him in evil.”
o Upon hearing Polyneikes‟ arrival, Oedipus does not wish to speak to him
o Antigone convinces her father to at least speak with his son (even though it doesn‟t go well)
o ANTIGONE “Come, grant me a favor [...] I entreat you by all that is dear (PHILON) to you – BY
CHILD or wife, by duty or by god.”
o Antigone convinces the chorus to let her father Oedipus stay and let Theseus make the decision
o POLYNEIKES You will never again see me alive.
ANTIGONE My heart is broken!
POLYNEIKES Do not try to persuade me to fail my duty.
ANTIGONE Then I am utterly destroyed if I must lose you.
o Antigone is tossed in the middle of a destructive family and its problems, due to all the males in the family
o OEDIPUS “How shall we wander, how find a bitter living in distant lands or on the waves of the
o Near the end of the play right before his death
o ANTIGONE “Send us, then, to our ancient THEBES that perhaps we may prevent the murder
that comes to our brothers”
o After the death of her father she desires to return to Thebes
WEEK 7 – EURIPIDES’ HIPPOLYTUS
o Ll. 525-532
o CHORUS -
Eros, Eros, you who drip desire
down into the eyes as you lead sweet
into the souls of those you war against,
never may you appear to me with harm
come out of measure.
For the shaft neither of fire nor of the stars is superior to Aphrodite‟s,
which Eros, the son of Zeus,
sends forth from his hands.
o Shows the power of eros over logic
o Ll. 198-202
o PHAEDRA - Lift up my body, hold my head upright! My limbs are weak. Seize my beautiful arms,
o Eros is so strong in her that it makes her physically sick
Ll. 1353, 1358-59, 1363
o HIPP - Stop, let me rest my worn-out body.
By the gods, gently hold on to my wounded flesh
with your hands, servants.
Lift me properly, move me carefully, ill-starred and accursed
because of my father‟s errors.
o Final moments alive before dying after talking to his father
o Ll. 14-21
o APHRODITE - He spurns the bed and doesn‟t touch marriage, but honors Apollo‟s sister,
ARTEMIS, the daughter of Zeus, considering her the greatest of divinities. Always
CONSORTING with the VIRGIN through the green wood, he rids the land of beasts with swift
dogs, HAVING COME UPON A MORE THAN MORTAL COMPANIONSHIP. I don‟t begrudge
them these things; why should I? But I will punish Hippolytus this day for the wrongs he has
o She is pissed at Hippolytus for not only detesting women but also because he disrespects her by
not honoring her
o Ll. 1420-22
o ARTEMIS - I will take vengeance by my hand with these inescapable arrows on another, one of
hers, whatever mortal is her very dearest
o Goddess favored by Hippolytus is mad that he is now dead and wants to take revenge on
o Ll. 1214
o MESSENGER- The WAVE SPEWED FORTH a bull, a savage monster. [...] My MASTER, who
was very familiar with the ways of horses, snatched the REINS in his hands and he pulled them,
the way a sailor does an oar [...] And whenever, holding the tiller, he steered their course toward
the soft ground, the bull would appear in front to turn them back [...] And, FREED FROM THE
BONDS, the cut leather reins – I don‟t know how – he fell still breathing a little life; and the
horses and the disastrous monstrous bull disappeared
o Graphic injury of Hippolytus due to the bull from the sea (connection to Phaedra‟s Cretan origin
and the curse Theseus put on him)
o LL. 72-84
o HIPP - For you, mistress, I bring this plaited wreath. I fashioned it from an untouched meadow,
where neither the shepherd thinks it right to feed her flocks nor the scythe has yet come, but a
bee goes through the untouched meadow in springtime. And Reverence (AIDOS) cultivates it
with river water for those to whom nothing is taught, but in whose nature moderation
(SOPHROSYNE) has been allotted in everything always... So, dear mistress, receive from a reverent hand a band for your golden hair. For I alone of mortals have this privilege
o Makes offering to Artemis and dismisses the opportunity to honor Aphrodite
o Ll. 208-211, 215-220, 228-31
o HIPP - How I wish I could draw a drink of pure water from a fresh spring, and lie down beneath
poplars in a grassy meadow and take my rest!
Take me to the mountains! I will go to the
woods and to the pine trees...Please by the gods! I desire to shout to dogs, hold a pointed
weapon in my hand and hurl a Thessalian spear past my yellow hair
Artemis, mistress of the
sea‟s Mere and the hippodrome which resounds with hoof beats, I wish I could be on your plain
breaking in Enetic foals!
o His desire to maintain his virginity. He does not like the corrupt world and views the meadow as
a symbol of virginity
o Ll. 383-87
o PHAEDRA - There are many pleasures in life, long conversations and leisure – a delightful evil –
and respect (AIDOS); and there are two kinds, one not bad, the other a burden on the house. If
what is appropriate were clear, there would not be two with the same letters.
o Aidos can mean shame, modesty, reverence, and modesty
o Her aidos is bad because it represents her desire to maintain a good reputation
o Ll. 716-21
o PHAEDRA - I have a remedy for this misfortune so that I can hand over a life of FAIR REPUTE
to my children and myself profit considering how things have fallen out. For I will never disgrace
(lit. “DISHONOR”) my Cretan home, nor will I come before Theseus‟ face with DISGRACEFUL
deeds done, for the sake of one life.
o L. 243-44
o PHAEDRA - Dear Nurse, cover my head again; I am ashamed (AIDOUMAI) of what I have said
o Ll. 330-335
o NURSE You hide it, although I‟m supplicating for your good?
PHAEDRA Go away, please by the gods, and let go of my right hand!
NURSE No, since you‟re not giving me the gift you ought. PHAEDRA I will give it, for I respect
(AIDOUMAI) your supplication.
o The nurse must supplicate and beg to Phaedra in order for her to tell her the truth about what is
causing her disease
o Ll. 386-87
o “If what is appropriate were clear, there would not be two (=concepts) with the same letters”
o Ll. 1034-35
HIPP - “She who was unable to be VIRTUOUS (sophron) acted VIRTUOUSLY”
o Sophronos means chastity, moderation, honor, etc.
o L. 612
o HIPP - MY TONGUE IS SWORN, MY MIND UNSWORN
o From Phaedra‟s letter, which shows the unreliability of signs and impossibility of communication
between men and women
o Ll. 925-30
o THESEUS - Ah, mortals ought to have established a SURE SIGN of friends and a means of
distinguishing their minds, to tell who is a true friend and who isn‟t. And all men ought to have
two voices, one just, the other how it happened to be, so that the one thinking unjust things
could be refuted by the just one; and we would not be deceived
o Shows the disjunction between reality and appearance- attest to the impotence of the human
o Ll. 1452-53
o THESEUS O dearest one, how noble you are revealed to your father.
HIPP O farewell to you, too, father, I bid you a long farewell
o The two must reconcile before Hippolytus‟ pain can come to an end and he can die
o Lll. 1431-32, 1435-36
o ARTEMIS - But you, o child of aged AEGEUS, take your son in your arms and embrace him. I
urge you not to hate your father, Hippolytus; for you have your fate with which you were
o Artemis presides over the father and son‟s reconciliation and makes sure they are on the same page before the son dies
o Theseus is left in a tragic state since he knows he contributed to a catastrophe that had a divine
o Ll. 1298-1301
o ARTEMIS - I came for this: to reveal your son‟s mind as just, so that he may die with a good
reputation, and your wife‟s frenzied lust or, in a way, nobility.
o Artemis begins the father and son‟s reconciliation
o The plotline validates male authority by sidelining the female family member and celebrating
relations between men
WEEK 7 – EURIPIDES’ TROJAN WOMEN
o Ll. 98-152
o HECUBA “Rise, stricken head, from the dust; lift up the throat. This is TROY, but TROY and we,
Troy‟s kings, are perished.
Unhappy, accursed, limbs cramped, I lie backed on earth‟s stiff
O head, o temples and sides; sweet, to shift, let the tired spine rest weight eased by the
o Beginning of play
o Ll. 1275-1330
Come, aged feet; make one last weary struggle, that I may hail my city in its affliction.
I lean my old body against the earth and both hands beat the ground. O gods‟ house, city
CHORUS You will collapse to the dear ground and be nameless
HECUBA O shaking, tremulous limbs, this is the way. Forward: into the slave‟s life.
o End of play – Hecuba used as a unifying character throughout the entire play regardless of all
the other women included
o Ll. 77-79, 82-84, 87
ATHENA When they take ship from Ilium and set sail for home Zeus will shower down his
rainstorms...Make the sea thunder to the tripled wave and spinning surf...
POSEIDON This shall be done...
o Gods make dispositions of the future in the beginning of the play
o We know exactly what is going to happen with the plot, takes away from any kind of shock factor