Instant Monologues
Euripides Electra Clytemnestra Instant Monologue


ELECTRA
by Euripides

EXT: A HUT ON A DESOLATE MOUNTAIN SIDE; THE RIVER INACHUS IS VISIBLE IN THE DISTANCE.

CLYTEMNESTRA

It was thy father cast his child away,

A child he might have loved!… Shall I speak out?

(Controlling herself)

Nay; when a woman once is caught about

With evil fame, there riseth in her tongue

A bitter spirit-wrong, I know! Yet, wrong

Or right, I charge ye look on the deeds done;

And if ye needs must hate, when all is known,

Hate on! What profits loathing ere ye know?

My father gave me to be his. 'Tis so.

But was it his to kill me, or to kill

The babes I bore? Yet, lo, he tricked my will

With fables of Achilles' love: he bore

To Aulis and the dark ship-clutching shore,

He held above the altar-flame, and smote,

Cool as one reaping, through the strainèd throat,

My white Iphigenia…. Had it been

To save some falling city, leaguered in

With foemen; to prop up our castle towers,

And rescue other children that were ours,

Giving one life for many, by God's laws

I had forgiven all! Not so. Because

Helen was wanton, and her master knew

No curb for her: for that, for that, he slew

My daughter!-Even then, with all my wrong,

No wild beast yet was in me. Nay, for long,

I never would have killed him. But he came,

At last, bringing that damsel, with the flame

Of God about her, mad and knowing all:

And set her in my room; and in one wall

Would hold two queens!-O wild are woman's eyes

And hot her heart. I say not otherwise.

But, being thus wild, if then her master stray

To love far off, and cast his own away,

Shall not her will break prison too, and wend

Somewhere to win some other for a friend?

And then on us the world's curse waxes strong

In righteousness! The lords of all the wrong

Must hear no curse!-I slew him. I trod then

The only road: which led me to the men

He hated. Of the friends of Argos whom

Durst I have sought, to aid me to the doom

I craved?-Speak if thou wouldst, and fear not me,

If yet thou deemst him slain unrighteously.






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