SOPHOCLESÕ

ŅELEKTRAÓ

(aka Electra)

Written circa 410BCE

 

Translated by

George Theodoridis

©2006

 

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ŃŃŃŃŃŃŠ

Dramatis  Personae

Orestes

Elektra

Old slave

Chrysothemis

Klytaemestra

Aegisthus

Chorus of Argive Women
(Older friends of Elektra)

Pylades
(silent)

Servant to Klytaemestra
(female, silent)

Two Attendants to Orestes
(male, silent)

One Attendant to Aegisthus
(male, silent)

ŃŃŃŃŃŃŃŃŃŃŃŃŠ

Before the main gate of the palace of Mycenae.
A little to the Stage Left is ApolloÕs altar.
Dawn. Sounds of birds.
Enter Orestes, Pylades, his closest friend and  Old Slave. All are bearded.

Old Slave:
Here we are Orestes, in front of the
palace of Mycenae! You, Orestes are the only son of Agamemnon, the General who took the Greeks to Troy and fought the Trojans until that city fell. So, now that we are here, you can see all those things youÕve always wanted to see.
Look there!
There it is, the old city of
Argos which youÕve missed so much and there, look, there is the playground of InahosÕ daughter, Io, who was turned into a cow before the gadfly stung her.
And there! There, Orestes can you see ApolloÕs market? Apollo the wolf killer, the protector of our sheep.  And there, to our left is the famous
temple of Hera.
He looks around him, ponderously.
This place here, Orestes, this is where, you may say, is
Mycenae
, replete with wealth and this, the palace of the sons of Pelops, Agamemnon and Menelaos, replete with disasters.  From in there, during your fatherÕs murder, your sister, Elektra, snatched you away and gave you to me. Then I, in turn, took you far away and raised you to this age to be your fatherÕs avenger. You will bring him Justice that is his due.
15
Now, then, Orestes and you, Pylades, his dear friend, we must think quickly how we should go about accomplishing this deed.  The bright rays of the sun are already clearly about us and so are the sounds of the morning birds.  The dark night and her stars are now gone.
So, letÕs discuss the matter before any of the men emerge from their house.
This place here is one for deed and not for hesitation.

Orestes:
My dearest friend. How many signs of your trust you have already shown me!
Like a trusty, pure-blood horse that no matter how old it is, when it senses danger, it doesnÕt lose its courage and pricks its ears for the attack. So, you, too, my friend, are the first to prod us on and to support us.
3o
Let me then tell you my thoughts, old friend.  Listen carefully and, if you find something wrong in what IÕm saying, correct me.
I have gone to the Oracle of Apollo and asked the god how I should avenge the death of my father.  His answer was that I should go about it on my own and with my own hand, without armies or shields and, secretly extract this Justice for the lost blood.
Well then, since this is the will of the Oracle, let me send you into the palace when that is possible, so that you can find out whatever is going on in there and then give us a clear picture of the situation.
42
Have no fear: the many years that have passed since you left the palace and the many years that have blossomed on your face will prevent anyone from recognising you.
Then, once you are inside, say that you are a stranger, sent by Phanoteas, the Phockian whoÕs one of their greatest friends.  Then, under oath tell them that Orestes met with a fatal accident at the Pythian Games.  Tell them his chariot toppled at the race.  Let that be the story.
51
We two will do as the oracle said. WeÕll go to my fatherÕs tomb and adorn it with libations and a lock of my hair.  Then, weÕll go and pick up the urn that you have hidden behind the bushes and come back here.  That urn will help us convince them that Orestes is dead and that his ashes are contained in it.
What a sweet piece of news that will be for them!
How can a fictional death hurt me? Dead in fiction, alive in truth and able to earn glory!
6o
I donÕt believe that any words that bring about good, even if they are lies, can be bad.  IÕve seen that often in the past. Fiction declares men to be dead but theyÕre alive and when they return home theyÕre treated as heroes. It will be the same with me:  A false story, yes but after it I shall shine like a bright star before my enemies.
Walks to the altar, kneels and prays
Gods and land of my fathers welcome me into your streets! And you, too, palace of my father, receive me well because IÕve come to you, sent by a god to cleanse you from all pollution.  DonÕt send me away in shame but let me become a worthy ruler of my house and of my estate.
Returns to the other two
I did my prayer. Now, you, my old friend, be very careful. Do what you have to.  We two will leave now because it is the right moment to do so and the moment is the greatest ruler of every deed.

Within the palace

Elektra: sighing
Ah, poor, poor me!

Old servant:
Ah! Orestes, I think IÕve just heard from behind the gates some young woman softly sighing.

8o
Orestes:
Do you think it might be poor Elektra?  Should we stay here and listen to her lament?

Old Servant:
No, absolutely not! We must obey ApolloÕs commands. Go to your fatherÕs grave and pour the libations first.  If we want victory and strength in our deeds we must do that first.

Exit all
Enter Elektra from one of the side gates.  She is grieving.  Her clothes are old and tattered.

Elektra:
Oh, you pure light and air! Air, spread equally over the whole earth!
How many of my wailing dirges must you have heard?
90
How many times you must have seen me beat my blood spattered breasts, once the dark night had passed?
My hateful bed in my mournful house is well acquainted with all my sleepless nights. It knows how much I cry for my fatherÕs dreadful fate.  Oh, If only Ares, the war god had not welcomed him in
Troy
! Or if only he gave him a glorious death-bed there, on the sands of that citadel! Instead, my own mother and her lover slashed hard through his skull with a double axe, like woodmen lie low an oak tree.
1oo
Such a dreadful death, such a pitiful death, father, and yet, and yet, youÕve only got me! Only from me do you receive your due of pity and a song of loss.
Still, so long as my eyes can see the stars with their brilliant rays, so long as I can see this daylight, I wonÕt stop my hateful crying and my songs of misery.  My crying will go on like that of Procne, the nightingale who killed Itys, her very own chick. It will be loud crying, loud announcements of my pain, here, in front of the gates of my fatherÕs palace.
120
To you, Hades and Persephone, rulers of the underworld and you, dear Mistress Curse! You, too, daughters of the gods, revered Spirits of Justice who seek justice for those wrongfully murdered, for those whose marriage bed was secretly dishonoured Šcome all of you, bring me help, send my brother to avenge the murder of my father.  The burden is getting far too heavy for me and I can no longer bear it alone.

Enter the chorus of Argive women.

121
Chorus:
Such grief, Elektra!

Chorus:
Why Elektra?

Chorus:
All this endless grief that tears you up so dreadfully!

Chorus:
Grief brought to you by your ruthless mother! Grief over your father, Agamemnon, grief that will never cease!

Chorus:
He was murdered in such shameless way by the awful plotting of your cursed mother, Klytaemestra and by her own bloody hand! If IÕd be allowed a word, let that word be, death to the murderer!

129
Elektra:
Dear friends, children of our nobles, I know, youÕve come to soften my sorrows. I understand your concern, it doesnÕt escape me; but no, I canÕt relent. I cannot let this grief leave me.  How can I not go on lamenting my unhappy fatherÕs ill luck?  But you, dear friends, you who give and take all the different dues of friendship with me, please do let me suffer like this.

14o
Chorus:
But, Elektra, youÕll never raise him from HadesÕ Lakes of Eternity with tears and prayers!

Chorus:
We all have to go there sooner or later, Elektra but your grief is abnormal, far more than moderation would allow.

Chorus:
Such uncontrollable grief will be your ruin, Elektra.  This evil deed cannot be undone, so do unchain yourself from this misery.

Chorus:
Why are you trying to undo what cannot be undone?

145
Elektra:
No. ItÕs a foolish thing to forget the shameful murder of oneÕs parents. Constantly in my mind I have Procne, NereasÕ wife, the ever-lamenting one, the one who had killed her own child, Itys.  She mourns her Itys ceaselessly.  ZeusÕ sacred little messenger, Itys who brings us Spring. And you, too, Niobe!  I also think of you.  You, too, are a goddess.  You, too, cry endlessly because of your endless suffering. You have been turned into stone over which your endless tears flow.  A rocky tomb.

153
Chorus:
But, child, youÕre not alone in the world in this horrible grief! DonÕt forget, you share this house with your sisters Chrysothemis and Iphianasa and even Orestes whoÕs a happy child because heÕs been hidden from all this anguish somewhere!

Chorus:
And Orestes will one day be delivered here, by Zeus himself, here, to famous
Mycenae
and he will be received by the city as the glorious son of his race that he is.

164
Elektra:
I wait for him. Day and night, tirelessly I wait for Orestes.
Poor woman, neither a married woman nor a mother, yet I sit here, withering, drenched in my own tears and with utter misery, my only companion I wait for him. But he? He has forgotten what our father has suffered and what he has been informed about me. And as for messages, what sort of messages does he send me?  Lies!  He Ņlongs to returnÓ he says but, of course, thereÕs never enough ŅlongingÓ for him to bring him here!

173
Chorus:
Courage, my child. Almighty Zeus who oversees and governs everything is still in Heaven.

Chorus:
Place all this enormous but just anger of yours into his hands and do not be so angry at your enemies. By all means, donÕt forget them, but do remember that Time is a benevolent god.

Chorus:
Because your brother Šwho lives in the fertile shores of the herd-roaming Crisa- will return.

Chorus:
Agamemnon, the lord of the underworld will not forget.

Elektra:
I canÕt carry this pain any more.  Most of my life has already gone without the slightest hope. I waste away without any children or without a man to stand beside me, to stand up for me and, like a disdained stranger in my own city, I go about doing the domestic work of my own fatherÕs rooms.  Look at my dress! Such a shabby cloth and with this dress, I wait for the people to finish eating before I can sit down for my own meal but by then, all the food is gone. All the tables are empty.

193
Chorus:
And your fatherÕs cry, too!  So pitiful! So pitiful was his cry when he returned to the rooms of his own fathers and the stroke of the bronze axe was delivered right upon his skull, straight and direct.

Chorus:
A faultless, lethal strike!

Chorus:
A killing that was devised by sheer cunning and accomplished by utmost lust!

Chorus:
And between the two of them, between cunning and lust they gave birth to a monstrous shape.

Chorus:
Was it the hand of a mortal, or was it that of some god?

2o1
Elektra:
What dreadful day that was!
Dreadful, hateful day, most hateful of all the days my bitter life had ever seen!
What a shocking night! What anguish, what pains my father had experienced during that unutterable banquet Šunutterable death dealt to him by their two hands. Hands that deceived and took my own life away, hands that brought about my own death.
Zeus! Give them their due suffering! Let them not enjoy the fruits of their evil deed!

213
Chorus:
Hush, girl!

Chorus:
Be careful now, girl!

Chorus:
DonÕt you know where all this has come from?  All this excessive grief of yours brings about even deeper suffering for you.

Chorus:
More than wars for your own soul to fight.

Chorus:
Be brave, child!

Chorus:
Try and cope!

Chorus:
You canÕt fight against those who are now in power.

Elektra:
Blame it on my unbearable suffering. My grief stems from it.  I know my madness well and I donÕt deny it but even so, I shall not stop this grieving no matter how fatal it might be for me. I shall go on grieving for as long as life will have me.
Because, my dear friends, from whom would I hear a good word, a word of comfort?  Who is there who can judge things fairly, as they really are?
No, let me go on, my friends. Console me no longer. Let me be. An illness such as mine has no cure and its suffering will never bring about the end of tears.

232
Chorus:
Yet, let me insist, Elektra Šlike a loving, dependable mother, let me insist: donÕt add suffering upon suffering.

Elektra:
Suffering?  By what measure can I measure it fair or enough?  Tell me please, by what measure can it be right to forget your dead?  In whose heart has this thoughtlessness grew?  I hope IÕm never given the honour to be with them and I hope IÕm never given enjoyment with anything if I am to leave behind the honour of my father by holding back the wings of my loud lamentations.  Shall we have the dead simply lie there, their blood not having been avenged with the spilling of his murdererÕs blood?  What then of shame?  What of respect in the world?

251
Chorus:
Darling, IÕve come here for your own good Šyours and mine, but if you find that my words are wrong then, by all means, do act as you wish. We will stand by you.

Elektra:
I feel ashamed, my dear friends. Ashamed because I fear that you may think that IÕm overdoing all these tears and grief; but I act this way because of the terrible power of my misery. Please, my dear friends, bear with me.  Because, how could a woman like me, born in her fatherÕs noble house, watch that house clogged with misery, a misery which I see by day and by night, ever growing, never decreasing?  How could a woman like me watch all this and not act the way I do?
More than all of them my own mother, the woman who gave me life, did me the gravest wrongs. And then (indicating the palace) here I am, living in my own house under the same roof of my fatherÕs murderers and it is they who command my actions and who say what I may possess and what I must do without.
265
Imagine then how I go through my days when I see Aigisthus, dressed in regal gear and sitting on my fatherÕs throne just as my father used to do and pouring the sacred libations next to the hearth where he had done his murderous deed. And how also do you think I feel when I see them committing the ultimate outrage, that of sleeping together on the same bed, my fatherÕs bed, his murderer and my wretched mother Šif one can call such a woman a Ņmother!Ó She sleeps with this polluter with all the audacity, all the arrogance of one whoÕs not afraid of the Erinyes, the Avenging Spirits!
And even more still!
She behaves as if the whole dreadful deed is a joke! She even gloats over it.  SheÕs found out the exact date of their cruel act, the very day when she and her lover treacherously killed my father.  She commemorates it with dances and monthly slaughters of cattle as sacrifices to the gods, praying they may preserve her.
And I, poor I, watch all this! I watch this wretched feast, raised in my fatherÕs name and I, I suffer violently  alone. Alone because they wonÕt allow me to grieve openly, openly and fully, until my heart empties all its pain.
285
ThisÉ this so called high-born woman, this noble woman, continuously shouts insults at me.  Insults and curses like, ŅGod-hated beast! Do you think itÕs only your father who has died?  Do you not think that anyone else has a right to mourn? I hope your death is a vile one and the gods in Hades never release you from these tears.Ó
ThatÕs how she curses me. And then when someone mentions that Orestes may be on his way, she charges at me and like a wild beast shouts, ŅAnd who is to blame for this?  WasnÕt it you who, with your hands took him from me?
295
Was it not your own work that Orestes is hidden far away? DonÕt you worry, though and be certain of this: you will get what you deserve for it!Ó
ThatÕs the sort of howling she gives me, while her bed-mate stands next her encouraging her to howl some more.  What a shameless man!  What a coward!  A plague to beat all plagues! A man whose battles are partnered with women!
And so I wait for Orestes. I wait for him to come and save me from this torment; and as I do, I ache in despair.
3o5
And because my brother constantly puts off doing anything, he has erased all my hopes.
Faced with such evilness, my friends, it is not proper to behave towards them politely and with respect. In such hateful circumstances as these thereÕs a need to behave and act quite differently.
31o

Chorus:
Tell us, Elektra, while youÕre talking like this, is Aegisthus here or is he away from the palace?

Elektra:
Of course heÕs not in the palace. No, heÕs away at the farm. Do you really think IÕd be able to get out of the house if he was here?

315
Chorus:
Well then, if thatÕs the case, I, too, will be able to speak my mind more freely.

Elektra:
Go ahead, speak. Say what you like while heÕs away.

Chorus:
I was wondering about your brother. Do you really think heÕs coming or has he put it off again?

Elektra:
He says heÕll come; but then again, none of the things he says heÕll do, he ever does.

320
Chorus:
ItÕs quite common that there is a delay when a deed is momentous.

Elektra:
Yet I saved him with no delay whatsoever.

Chorus:
Courage, Elektra! HeÕs a noble man and heÕll help those close to him.

Elektra:
I believe you, otherwise I wouldnÕt be able to live this long.

Chorus:
Hush now. DonÕt speak at all because I can see your sister, Chrysothemis coming from the palace.  The same blood, the same father, the same mother.

Chorus:
Look, sheÕs carrying tomb offerings as our custom has it. Offerings for the dead.

Chrysothemis enters dressed in clothes and jewels, befitting a member of the palace and creating a most visible distinction of status. She has plaits in her hair(see line 449).  A female attendant follows her, carrying a basket with funereal items.

Chrysothemis:
Such language, my sister! You shout such things in front of our gates! Again!
YouÕve been at this for so long and in vain, yet you wonÕt tone down your anger!
330
I know all the facts, my sister.  I know how dire the situation is but I wish I were brave enough to tell those two what I really think of them. But you see, Elektra, this situation is very troublesome and in such timesÉ I think itÕs wise that I lower my sails and act as if IÕm not doing a thing. That way I wouldnÕt be hurting anyone.
How I wish youÕd do the same, Elektra!
Even though I know that your thinking is correct, if I am to live as a free woman IÕd need to obey my masters.

341
Elektra:
What a dreadful thing you are, Chrysothemis, to forget your father Šand such a father!- and to think only of your mother!
All this advice youÕre always giving me!  These are not your words!  These are her words!
Tell us, then: which of the two is it? Is it a failure of your memory when it comes to your dear ones or is it that youÕre badly lacking in logic? Not a minute ago you were telling us how if you had the courage youÕd show them just how much you hate them, yet right now youÕre doing nothing to help me and in fact youÕre trying to hold me back as I try to get just and rightful revenge for our father.
350
DoesnÕt this add to your other faults, that of cowardice?
So tell me then.  Teach me the right way. Either that or let me tell you. What good would it do for me to stop crying?
Do I not live? Badly, I know but itÕs good enough for me. Good enough and at the same time I give them a miserable time while I give joy to our beloved father, if there is such a thing as joy in the underworld.
Whereas you, your hatred is only a hatred in words and in fact you take sides with the murderers, whereas I, even if they gave me all those jewels youÕre wearing, I would still never obey them.
360
By all means, let your own table always be a feast for you and let your life be full of constant joy. As for me, let my joy consist of giving them misery.
And I donÕt seek your glory, either. A glory which, had you some logic in your head you wouldnÕt seek either.  As well even though you could be called your fatherÕs daughter, a daughter legitimate and natural, youÕre now known as your motherÕs daughter, an illegitimate child.  ThatÕs how everyone will regard you. ŅAn evil woman who rejected her dead father and her own folk!Ó

370
Chorus:
Heavens!  DonÕt be so angry at each other, girls!

Chorus:
ThereÕs good advice in the words of both of you if only you agree to listen to each other!

Chrysothemis:
I know her words very well, ladies.  IÕve heard them many times before and I wouldnÕt be saying anything or taking any notice of them if I didnÕt know that all these endless tears of hers will do her a great harm.

Elektra:
What harm?  What is this great harm youÕre talking about? Is it greater than the one IÕm suffering now? Because if it is, then I wonÕt argue with you any more.

Chrysothemis:
IÕll tell you every single thing I know.
They say that if you donÕt put an end to all this wailing theyÕll send you to a dark cave somewhere where youÕll never see the light of the sun.
380
YouÕll be locked up alive, Elektra!  Alive to mourn far from your own home!
Think about all this, and donÕt blame me later, when you begin to suffer that punishment.
ItÕs time now for you to start behaving wisely.

Elektra:
So! ThatÕs what theyÕve decided to do with me!

Chrysothemis:
Exactly.  The moment Aigisthus comes back.

Elektra:
In that case, let him rush back!

Chrysothemis:
Poor creature! What a curse youÕve uttered!

Elektra:
Let him come! Let him hurry if thatÕs what heÕs planning to do.

390
Chrysothemis:
Think, Elektra! Think what youÕre about to endure!  Have you lost your mind?

Elektra:
This will also help me get away as far as possible from you lot!

Chrysothemis:
Have you no regard for the life you enjoy here?

Elektra: (Sarcastically)
What a brilliant life! Wonderful! I enjoy it enormously!

Chrysothemis:
It could be wonderful if you knew how to behave.

Elektra:
DonÕt try and tell me how to behave badly to my own folk.

Chrysothemis:
No, I wonÕt do that, Elektra but you must bow to the mighty.

Elektra:
You can flatter them all you like.  ThatÕs not my way.

Chrysothemis:
But, is it a good idea for you to fall, through lack of common sense?

Elektra:
Let us fall for the sake of fatherÕs Justice!

400
Chrysothemis:
I know very well that father is quite relaxed about such matters.

Elektra:
These are excuses that evil men love to use.

Chrysothemis:
So, I canÕt persuade you, Elektra? Can you not agree with me?

Elektra:
No, not at all.  I was never that heartless.

Chrysothemis:
In that case IÕm leaving to do as I was told.

Elektra:
Where are you going? And for whom are these offerings?

Chrysothemis:
They are motherÕs offerings for our father.

Elektra:
What was that? SheÕs sending offering to her worst enemy?

Chrysothemis:
You mean, because she killed him?

Elektra:
Was she told to do this by some friend or did she come up with the idea herself?

410
Chrysothemis:
I think she saw some dreadful dream last night.

Elektra:
O, gods of our fathers help me even now!

Chrysothemis:
Does this nightmare bring you some hope?

Elektra:
I could tell you better if you told me what it was she saw.

Chrysothemis:
I donÕt quite know the full thing.  Just a few words, thatÕs all.

Elektra:
Nevermind.  There are times when with the utterance of a couple of words some men fall down an abyss and others are saved.

Chrysothemis:
The dream said that she saw our father as if he were here in the light of this world and as her husband again; and he took his sceptre from AigisthusÕ hand and planted it hard next to the hearth. Immediately after that the sceptre shot out a branch whose blossoms covered the whole of
Mycenae
. Someone standing next to her heard her telling these words to Sun and I heard them from her.
425
I know nothing else except that this fear of hers made her send me to do this chore.
So now, I beg you. By the gods of our home, donÕt fall into a disaster through lack of thought.  Listen to me, Elektra, because if you donÕt itÕll be back to me that youÕll be returning only this time, with much suffering.

430
Elektra:
Place none of these things youÕre holding upon the grave, my dear sister. ItÕs disrespectful for you to do so and it is wrong for a female enemy to make offerings and libations to our father. Toss them to the wind or burry them deep into the ground so that none of it will get to our fatherÕs grave.  Let her enjoy them. Let them be hidden mementos for her for when she dies.
440
Shameless woman! Born to be the most shameless of all women!  That is why she makes these detestable offerings to the tomb of the man she has murdered.
Would you think that a dead man would accept such gifts from the woman who had murdered him?  Do you think heÕd receive them in a way that would please her? A woman who murdered him without honour, who murdered him as if he were an enemy of hers, who had cut his corpse up into pieces and then, and then for the act of ablution she wiped the blood off with his hair!  Do you believe that these offerings will absolve her of such a heinous crime?
It cannot happen; so leave them please and cut a little from the tip of your platted hair and some of mine Šthe few that I have!
(She cuts a lock of her hair. The scissors are in the offerings basket)
450
Take these worthless objects and this simple, unadorned belt of mine and, with bent knees pray to him. Pray! Ask him kindly to come from below the earth, to our aid against our enemies. Ask him also to grant that his son, Orestes, come alive and brave to kill and trample upon our his enemy and so later, we may adorn him with gifts much richer than these. (Thoughtfully) I feelÉ I truly feel that there is something of our fatherÕs will in our motherÕs dream, as if heÕs sending her some sign of what evil may attend her.
460
Come, dear sister! Do these things for our own good and for the good of the man, most loved by all men, our father-in-common who is now in HadesÕ world.

Chorus:
ElektraÕs words are pious, Chrysothemis and if you have any sense youÕd obey them.

Chrysothemis:
Yes, I shall do so. The just act requires a team, acting quickly upon the deed, without arguments. And you, my dear friends, for godÕs sake, stay silent!  Say nothing to anyone about what I shall do because IÕm afraid that if mother finds out about it, sheÕll turn this enterprise of mine into a bitter suffering.

Exit Chrysothemis

Chorus:
PerhapsÉIf IÕm not a crazed prophet, lacking in wisdom, then Vengeance will truly  come, her hands full of the powers of Justice.

Chorus:
She comes, my dear girl, she comes, vengeance is never tardy.

480
Chorus:
My heart fluttered with joy a little earlier when I heard these most welcomed dreams, these sweetly received dreams because the King of the Greeks your father, will never forget you nor will he forget the ancient double-headed Axe of well-wrought bronze, the axe that slew him with outrageous pain.

490
Chorus:
Vengeance will come! SheÕs hidden now in her awesome vigilÉ

Chorus:
In waitingÉ

Chorus:
StalkingÉ

Chorus:
With legs of bronzeÉ

Chorus:
With many feetÉ

Chorus:
With many handsÉ

Chorus:
The Erinyes shall come, full of passionÉ

Chorus:
Against the improper passion of the bedÉ

Chorus:
And of the blood-soaked marriageÉ

Chorus:
And against the polluted passion of an unloving couple.

Chorus:
Because of this I think the sign in the dream is faultless and bad for those who did the evil deed as well as for their helpers.

500
Chorus:
If the prophesy in this dire dream is not fulfilled then let us say it:
Prophesies and oracles do not exist in dreams.

Chorus:
Ancient chariot race of Pelops! Full-gorged with torment for this land!

Chorus:
From the moment Myrtilos, IppodameiaÕs father, drowned in the oceanÉ

Chorus:
From the moment he was thrown into his watery grave by his golden chariotÉ

Chorus:
Headlong, from that very moment, this house was never free of suffering.

Enter Klytaemestra and her maid who is holding a basket of sacrificial items.  Klytaemestra will sacrifice them upon ApolloÕs altar

Klytaemestra: (She sees Elektra)
So! Here you are again! Outside the house, free as a bird!   And thatÕs because Aegisthus isnÕt here!  Huh!  At least he is able to keep you in check Š make it a little harder for you to shame your own folk outside your own gates.
Sure, now that heÕs away you show absolutely no respect for me and IÕm certain that youÕd have spread much gossip around, about what a terrible creature I am and how I rule you and your friends unjustly. And no doubt, you also tell them that I treat you harshly.
520
No, I donÕt treat you unjustly but I admit to being harsh occasionally, simply as a retort to your own harsh treatment of me. You use no other excuse than the fact that your father is dead that IÕm being cruel to you.  And why do you do that?
Because I killed him! I know that IÕve killed your father.  I know that very well. I do not deny it.  But it wasnÕt just I alone who killed him.  Justice helped my hand and you would accept that, if only you had a bit of sense.
530
Agamemnon!  Huh!  That father of yours for whom you have shed such endless tears, that father of yours, decided by himself and without consulting the rest of the Greeks to sacrifice your little sister, Iphigeneia, to the Goddess Artemis.  He alone!
Alone!
Have I not bore the greater burden of giving birth to her?  What share was his pain in her birth?
What pain? What was his pain, Elektra?
Explain this, then Elektra:  What was the point of the sacrifice?  Who was to gain?
The Argives?  What right did they have to demand the sacrifice of my own offspring?
His brother Menelaos?  Where is my justice then?
Where is my justice?
And had not Menelaos two children of his own?
540
Would it not have been far more proper that they should bare the burden of the sacrifice since it was for HER, their mother, Helen, that the fleet was gathered together? They were the children of one brace of parents.  They should have died!  THEY should have died!
Was it Hades, then?   Was it he who had a greater urge to gorge upon the souls of my children rather than hers?
Was it Agamemnon?  Was it this god-hated father of yours?  Did he feel more love for his brotherÕs children than those of his own?  Is this not the act of a mindless, a senseless father? You think not but I think yes.
She stomps her foot, indicating the underworld.
Ask HER!  If she could get a voice her answer would be loud and certain. ŅYes!Ó she would say, and ŅyesÓ again!
550
I feel no remorse for my deed; and as for you, I suggest that if you want to find fault in others, try and learn about Justice.

Elektra:
Well, now!  You canÕt say I deserved this lengthy tirade because I had started whining!
YouÕve got to at least let me speak now about both, my father and my sister.

Klytaemestra:
By all means! Had you always started your speeches with such an attitude, the burden to listen to them would not have been so great.  Go ahead.

Elektra:
So, then! You accept that you have murdered my father. Rightly or wrongly, what deed is more foul than this?  Then let me also prove to you that it was not justice that persuaded you to commit this murder but the words of this evil man who now has you as a wife.
560
Then, you can ask the huntress, Artemis herself! Ask her, why the punishment? What was the reason she held the many winds of Aulis? Whom did she want to punish?
Or, rather, let me. It is not proper to ask the gods to be accountable for their deeds.
My father, I am told, was walking in the huntressÕ forest when he saw a marvellous stag, its head adorned full with beautiful horns. My father killed it and, as he was slaughtering it he accidentally uttered a boastful word that offended LetoÕs daughter, the virgin Artemis.
570
So, she held the fleet at Aulis until, in exchange for the stag, my father sacrificed his daughter. There was no other way for the Achaians to go anywhere Šforward to Troy or backward to their home. So it was because the Achaians put a great deal of pressure on him to sacrifice Iphigeneia that he did so, not as a favour for Menelaos.
And let me put your view forward as well:  in any case, so what if he sacrificed her for the sake of Menelaos?  Was that a just reason for you to kill him?  According to what law? And by invoking this law of yours for all other mortals take care that you donÕt dig your own grave and suffer pain and remorse because of it.
580
Because if this law of yours existed, that is, that murder be repaid by murder, and you were taken to court by that law, youÕd die.  So be very careful youÕre not playing with fanciful excuses!
Come then, tell me! What justifies all these most foul acts of yours?  To sleep next to the evil man with whom youÕve murdered my father and to have children with him while your own first and legal children you cast into exile? Legal from a legal marriage.
590
Who is there to approve of this behaviour?  Or will you tell me that this is your own retribution for the loss of your daughter? You would be doing something dreadful if you tried! Ha! What a delightful excuse: IÕm marrying an enemy because IÕve lost my daughter!
Can anyone even suggest anything to you? You shoot your words in every direction telling everyone that we speak ill of our mother!
600
In any case I, in fact, consider you more a tyrant than a mother. I live a wretched life full of pain served to me by you and your partner-in-bed, Aegisthus.
And Orestes, too, who had just escaped your claws, lives a life of misery in exile and as for him, youÕve said a great deal that I keep him as your avenger. About this, know well that if I could bring him here now, I would. Go ahead, shout it to everyone, call me whatever insult you like about my wish to bring Orestes here. Call me evil, shameless, a gossip, whatever you like Š I am your daughter and so IÕm an expert at these deeds!

610
Chorus
(to Klytaemestra)

I can see her building up a frenzy without the slightest consideration that she may be wrong!

Chorus:
Does anyone care?

Klytaemestra: (To the chorus)
But why should I care? Should I care about a daughter who at her age insults her mother like this?  IsnÕt it obvious that sheÕs capable of all sorts of disgraceful acts?

Elektra:
Well, now, you should know that I am indeed ashamed of this even though I donÕt show it to you. And I know only too well that my behaviour is bad for my age and quite unlike me.
620
But itÕs your belligerence towards me and your evil deeds that press me hard against my will that makes me behave like this.  Why else? One learns shame from shameless people.

Klytaemestra:
Shameful woman! ItÕs obvious. My words and actions make you say too much!

Elektra:
Your words, not mine. Your deeds not mine and it is your deeds that give birth to the words.

Klytaemestra:
Oh!  By Lady Artemis!  I swear, youÕll be paying the consequences of this insolent behaviour when Aegisthus returns!

Elektra:
See? First you let me say what needs to be said but then youÕve no idea how to listen.

630
Klytaemestra: (Turns towards the statue of Apollo)
Well, now that IÕve let you say all you wanted to say, will you not let me even sacrifice without all these insults?

Elektra:
Please!  By all means! I allow you, I allow you! Perform your sacrifice and stop blaming my words. I shall utter no more of them.

Klytaemestra: (To her maid)
Bring me here the tray of my many different fruits to sacrifice to the god and pray for relief of the many fears that grip me now.
She takes the basket and places the offerings on the altar.  Then she kneels and prays:
Hear me, Phoebos Apollo! Protect my thoughts which I must keep secret because IÕm not among friends, who may listen freely to everything I say.
640
Nor can I speak clearly since Elektra is by my side and with her hatred and gossiping tongue sheÕs likely to spread uncouth and false words throughout the whole country. No, Phoebos, listen to me in this way.  It is how I shall speak from now on.
I endured a disturbed sleep last night. Two dreams, both of nightmares here and there, my Lord. Lord Phoebos, if they are to come to some good, help them come to fruition but if they are to result in awful deeds, then let these deeds fall upon my enemiesÕ heads.
650
And Lord, let no one conspire with others or plot against me to rob me of my livelihood, the wealth of the Atridae. Let me live, Phoebos this good life, the serene life as keeper of this royal sceptre. Grant that I go on living prosperously with the good friends I have now and with those children of mine who do not hate me or cause me bitterness and pain.
These are my words Oh, wise Apollo.  Hear them and grant our wishes.  As for the rest, even though I havenÕt uttered them, youÕre ZeusÕ child and a God so I know youÕll hear them also.  The children of Zeus can see everything.

Klytaemestra raises from the altar
Enter old Slave

660
Old Slave:
Dear Ladies, can you tell me for certain if this is King AegisthusÕ palace?

Chorus:
YouÕve guessed well, stranger.  This is the palace.

Old Slave:
And, would I be right in guessing that this lady here is his Queen? She certainly looks as if she would be.

Chorus:
Absolutely right. The Lady before you is her.

Old Slave:
Greetings my Queen!  I bring sweet news for you and Aegisthus.

Klytaemestra:
Indeed! I accept the word. But first I need to know who has sent you.

670
Old Slave:
Phanoteas has sent me, Phanoteas from Phockis. He has sent me to give you a very important message.

Klytaemestra:
Tell me the message stranger.  I know Phanoteas, heÕs a good friend of ours so his news would be good.

Old Slave:
To tell it in two words, Orestes is dead!

Elektra: (screams in pain)
Ahhh! Poor me!  What a bitter day today is! I am lost!

Klytaemestra:
What?  What was that, friend? DonÕt listen to her!

Old Slave: (Feigning surprise at ElektraÕs behaviour)
I said Orestes is dead!  I repeat, Orestes is dead!

Elektra:
O, I am lost! Wretched me!  I exist no more!

Klytaemestra: (To Elektra)
Who cares about you?
(To the slave)
Go on, friend, tell me exactly how he died.

680
Old Slave:
ThatÕs why IÕm sent here, dear Lady. To tell you exactly how it happened.
Orestes went to the jewel of Greece, the famous Delphic games, to win one of the prizes.
The moment he heard the shrill call for the first race he went in and took his spot, a brilliant specimen of health to all the spectators; and just as the boy was first to get to his spot at the beginning of the race, so he rushed to the finish of it first, taking the coveted prize before he left!  To cut a long story short, my dear Lady, I have never heard of such achievements. But you should know this: that all the prizes which an athlete could win Šdouble track races, which are part of the tradition of the pentathlon- he received the first prize and everyone thought him a truly fortunate man. All the Argives called him by his name, ŅOrestes, son of Agamemnon, the man who gathered the famous army of Greece.Ó  ThatÕs what had happened that day; but if a God wants things to turn otherwise, so it will be and not even the strongest of men can escape.  Take my word, that man will meet his ruin.
700
And I say this because on another day, at the break of Dawn, when it was the day of the chariot races, Orestes took his spot again among the many others. Among them was a man from Achaea, one from Sparta, two from Libya Š experts at the four-horse chariot- and among them all, fifth, with Thessalian mares came Orestes. The sixth was an Aetolian with blond colts, seventh was one from Magnesia, the eighth was someone from Aeniana with a pair of white horses, the ninth was from god-built Athens and the tenth and final chariot was driven by a Boetian. Then the judges drew lots and the chariots were placed accordingly. Then came the sound of the brass trumpet and the horses dashed forward.
710
The drivers yelled at their horses and shook the reins and immediately the whole track was filled with  the clouds of dust and noise which the loud chariots made. The dust rose high and the drivers, all close to one another goaded their horses, hoping to leave behind and get out of the way of the axles and the frenzied snorts of all the other chariots, because their wheels and their backs were covered with the froth of the breath of the other horses.
720
Orestes, now, being on the inside lane he kept his horses close to the pillar and scraping it each time he went past.  He had his right hand trace-horse loose so that he could block off the horses behind him.
In the beginning all was going well and all the chariots were upright. But then, suddenly, AeniaÕs unruly horses kept running against AeniaÕs wish, dragging him and at the turning point of the end of the sixth round and the beginning of the seventh, they crashed headlong against the chariot from Barce. That was the beginning of the disaster. One horse crashed and smashed itself into another and in no time the whole plain of Crissa was littered with the wreckage of the chariots.
730
The cunning Athenian saw this and being an expert at chariot racing, cuts down the speed of his horses and lets the others, who were in total confusion, surge away from him and run through the centre of the track.
In all this, Orestes was the last driver, holding onto his position in the rear and driving confidently, certain of the result. But then, when he saw the Athenian being on his own, he sent a shrill cry into the ears of his speedy horses and chased after him.
740
His horses brought the chariots next to each other and thus they drove on. One minute you could see the head of one projecting and the next minute that of the other.
Throughout the whole race, man and chariot were upright but then, suddenly, as the horse made to turn, Orestes relaxed the left-hand rein of the turning horse and it accidentally hit the edge of the post.  He broke the axle edge and he, himself fell and slipped out of the chariot.  He fell tangled into the reins and his horses scatter through the centre of the track.
750
When the crowd saw him as he fell, they broke out into tears of pity for him, realising what dreadful fortunes followed him after such good deeds. Here he was dragged about one minute, his limbs flying high the next, until finally, the other drivers managed with great difficulty to stop his horses.  They released him, his body all battered and gored, a bloody mess so that none of his friends even could recognise his unfortunate body.
760
Some Phockians were appointed to burn his body on a pyre and put the ashes in a tiny bronze urn. They are bringing it here to the land of his fathers so as to be given a proper burial.
ThatÕs how it was.  A dreadful story to tell and for us who saw it, it was the worst of all the disasters I ever saw.

Chorus:
Alas, alas! It looks like the whole generation of our masters is gone, destroyed, roots and all!

Klytaemestra:
O, Zeus, Zeus! WhatÕs all this? Which of the two should I call them, ŅjoyÓ or Ņmisery that brings happiness?Ó  How awful that I should be saved by misery!

Old Slave:
But my Lady, why do my words bring you unhappiness?

770
Klytaemestra:
Giving birth is a powerful thing!  You feel no hatred towards them not even when they hurt you.

Old Slave:
Well then, by the looks of things, my trip here was in vain.

Klytaemestra:
Vain?  Not at all. How can you even say that? How can it be in vain if youÕve brought us certain proof of a dead man who sprung out of my own vitals, took himself away from my breast and my nurture so as to live as a foreigner and an exile, away from his own land? And once he left here, he never set eyes on me again. He would just threaten me with awful retribution, blaming me for his fatherÕs murder.
780
Sweet Sleep never came to shut my eyes Šneither during the night nor the day- but all my hours I had spent waiting for them to bring me Death.
Today though, IÕm saved from these two fears, from that of Orestes and from hers (Indicating Elektra) Sharing the house with this evil pestilence, meant that sheÕd endlessly suck my very own heartÕs blood.  But from now on IÕm freed from her threats and IÕll be spending my days quietly.

Elektra:
Ah, dreadful, miserable Fate! Orestes!  What Fate is this that your very own mother curses you? Ah, now I can indeed cry. (To the chorus) What now dear friends?  What do you think of all this?  Is this good?

790
Klytaemestra:
Good?  Of course itÕs not good for you but as for Orestes, heÕs fine where he is!

Elektra:
Hear this, Nemesis!  Hear how insolently she talks of the newly dead!

Klytaemestra:
Nemesis has already heard what she needed to hear and she had accomplished her deed well!

Elektra:
By all means, curse and insult us because right now it happens that youÕre ecstatic!

Klytaemestra:
Ecstasy! You and Orestes will never stop your supply of joy for me.

Elektra:
WeÕve lost ours so that you may not lose yours.

Klytaemestra: (to the old slave)
Say what you like old man, your arrival would worth even more if you could shut this womanÕs uncontrollable mouth.

Old Slave:
Well then! Since everything is wonderful, I can go now.

800
Klytaemestra:
O, no! Not at all! It wouldnÕt be proper at all for you or that friend of yours whoÕs sent you, to treat you like this.  Come inside and let this woman stand out here to shout away her ill whining.  On and on they go about herself and her friends!

Exit Klytaemestra and Old Slave through the Palace central gate. Klytaemestra is happy and lets out a chuckle of joy as she leaves.

Elektra:
She laughs! YouÕd think sheÕd ache and cry, lament, feel sorry for the loss of her son, (sarcastically) the poor thing!  The loss of her son who was lost in such a manner!  No, she laughs, instead!
Ah, how miserable I am, my brother Orestes!  Dear brother, your death has made me dead! You left and took with you the only few hopes I had that youÕd return one day, alive, a true avenger of your fatherÕs murder.  Your fatherÕs and mine, poor miserable woman.
810
Now, though, where could I possibly go?  I am alone, deprived of you and of our father.  Once again I must remain a slave to the most hated of people, those who have slaughtered my father.  Could this be good for me? But no! I can no longer stay with them and so I shall stay here, outside the front gate of the palace.  Here I shall throw myself and whither away alone.  (She does so)
820
I donÕt care any more about life and if any one of that lot (Indicating the palace) wants to do away with me, let him. Death, for me would be a joyful thing.

Chorus:
Zeus, where are your thunderbolts!

Chorus:
Phoebos Apollo where are you?  Do you see all this and donÕt care?

Chorus:
Gods, do you bury what you see?

Elektra: (screams in pain and despair, her back towards the chorus and, thus, the audience)
Ah! Such pain!

Chorus:
What is it, my daughter? Why weep so?

830
Elektra:  (continues to scream loudly and with deep grief, again with her back towards the audience)
Ah! Miserable Fate!

Chorus:
DonÕt cry so loudly, Elektra!

Chorus:
Show your grief wisely.

Elektra: (turns around violently)
You will kill me with Š

Chorus:
With what child?

Elektra:
You will kill me by giving me hope and comfort about those who you know very well are dead because such a thing will be like trampling on my hopes as I and my hopes fade.

Chorus:
ButÉ IÕve heard the story of lord Amphiaraus the famous seer, who was gobbled  up by his wifeÕs, EriphyleÕs treachery, a golden chain, but even so, now beneath the earthÉ

840
Elektra:
Ah!  Ah!

Chorus: (from now till line 845, the Chorus and Elektra are speaking at cross-purposes: The chorus is talking about Amphiaraus, who is dead, whereas Elektra is talking about Agamemnon.)
Éhe is ruling a whole throng of souls.

Elektra:
Ah!

Chorus:
YouÕre quite right.  Because that bitchÉ

Elektra:
Éwas punished

Chorus:
Precisely.

Elektra:
I know, I know, but thatÕs because someone had come up to take care of lamenter of the ugly deed, whereas for me, thereÕs no one left any more.  The only one I had left, Earth took from me.

Chorus:
Your Fate, child, is indeed bleak! Bleak! Wretched.

850
Elektra:
YouÕre right, I know this too. And I know it too well, because my life is an ocean of woes and miserable sufferings, constantly attacking me.

Chorus:
WeÕve seen the causes of your tears.

Elektra:
Well then donÕt you go searching for that which does not exist.

Chorus:
What do you mean?

Elektra:
For hopes that are false.  That my noble Orestes will come to my aid.

Chorus:
Every single man is made so as to die, Elektra.

Elektra:
Like this though? Like poor Orestes died, trampled beneath the shiny hooves of horses, snared within the reins?

Chorus:
The loss is immeasurable.

Elektra:
But of course, since he was an exile without my own hands to help himÉ

Chorus:
Ah, poor boy!

870
Elektra:
The earth has covered him without a proper funeral and lamentations.

Chrysothemis rushes in, exuding joy.

Chrysothemis:
Ha, ha!  Elektra, IÕve put aside every bit of shame and here I am running to bring you some respite from all these woes and grief that ailed you all this time.

Elektra:
How could you possibly bring respite to woes that cannot be cured?

Chrysothemis:
Orestes is near us, Elektra!  Listen to me and know it clearly, as clearly as you can see me.

Elektra:
Poor creature! Obviously youÕve gone mad.  YouÕre mocking your own grief and mine.

Chrysothemis:
I swear by our fatherÕs hearth. I am not mocking anything.  He is here, among us!

880
Elektra:
Ah, poor woman! From whom did you hear this piece of news which you believe so strongly?

Chrysothemis:
From whom? From me and from no one else, because I saw obvious signs, thatÕs why I believe it.

Elektra:
What signs did you, poor pitiful wretch believe in?  What was it that you saw that makes you set alight again a dead flame?

890
Chrysothemis:

By the Gods, Elektra! Well, listen and youÕll see if IÕm mad or not.

Elektra:
Well, then, talk.  If that gives you any pleasure.

Chrysothemis:
IÕll tell you then all I saw.  As soon as I got to the ancient tomb of our father I saw that from the top of the tomb some newly-made streams of milk and all around it was adorned by all the flowers that earth can produce.
I was surprised by this and I took a look around in case someone might appear from near by.
900
The place was all quiet everywhere and so I approached the tomb even closer and there I saw on its top a newly cut lock of hair. The very moment I saw it, an old and well known image hit my soul, an image of the man I loved the most, that of our brother, Orestes.  I picked it up in my hands without uttering a sound in case I ruined the omen and my eyes brimmed with tears. And IÕm certain, Elektra, just as much now as then that this ornament is no one elseÕs but his own because, who else other than you and I are obliged to do such a thing?
910
I know, I didnÕt do it and nor did you.  How could you?  You couldnÕt even walk away from the house for just a few steps without crying.  Nor could this be something that our motherÕs heart would want to do.  If she did, weÕd know about it. So, itÕs obviously an offering from Orestes.  Take courage my dear sister because manÕs Fate changes and so if it was bad before, this might be the day when good things are delivered to us.

920
Elektra:
O, my sweet sister! How I pity you your madness!

Chrysothemis:
But what is it, Elektra?  DonÕt the news please you?

Elektra:
Chrysothemis, neither you nor your brain know where youÕre going!

Chrysothemis:
What do you mean? Can I not know what I saw with my own eyes?

Elektra:
HeÕs dead, poor darling! Keep no hope that heÕll ever come to rescue you.  He is gone!

Chrysothemis:
Ah!  Loathsome misfortune!  Who told you that?

Elektra:
A man who was near him when he died.

Chrysothemis:
And where is this man now?  IÕm about to lose my mind!

Elektra:
Mother welcomed him inside.

930
Chrysothemis:
Ah! Loathsome, loathsome Fate!
There are so many offerings at the tomb of our father.  Who could have brought them all there?

Elektra:
I think perhaps some friend of Orestes might have put them there as memorials for our dead brother.

Chrysothemis:
What a pitiful Fate I have! IÕve rushed here with joyful news, without knowing how terrible things really were.  Now I find out that not only we have our old troubles but some more on top.

Elektra:
Yes, thatÕs how it is but if you listen and do as I say, your pain will become lighter.

940
Chrysothemis:
Do you think I could raise the dead, perhaps, Elektra?

Elektra:
No, thatÕs not what I said.  IÕm not that stupid.

Chrysothemis:
What then do you think I could do?

Elektra:
You could have the courage to do as I say.

Chrysothemis:
Sure, if thereÕll be some good that could come out of it, I wonÕt say no.

Elektra:
Think! No joy is gained without some effort.

Chrysothemis:
I know that and I shall do all I can to help.

Elektra:
Well, then, listen to what I think we should do.  You know now that thereÕs no one who cares about us any more. All are taken by Hades and so now we are left all alone in the world.
950
For as long as I would hear that our brother was alive and strong, I had hopes that he would return and exact justice for the murder of our father. But now that Orestes is gone, you should work with me, be with me as we try to murder Aegisthus, the murderer of fathers. From you I shall hide nothing from now on.
For how long will you stand by and waiting? And for what?  What kind of real hope is there still for you?
960
You have nothing left now except to grieve the loss of your fatherÕs wealth and to age, year by year, tormented, never having known love nor marriage.
DonÕt expect any of this to happen either, because Aegisthus is not so stupid so as to allow you or me to give birth to a generation which will destroy him.
Listen then to my advice! Firstly, for the sense of honour youÕd have shown you would receive the respect of both, our father and our Orestes, both in Hades as well as here on earth.
970
YouÕll become free again just as you were from birth and youÕll be married according to your proper status.  Everyone loves virtue and thatÕs the direction to which they turn their eyes.
As well can you not see what fame and glory I too, will receive if you listen to my advice?  What stranger or Argive will not greet us with such praise as Ņlook, friends! See there the two sisters who saved the house of their fathers and who, having no fear of the strength of their enemies, still killed them, putting in jeopardy their own lives. No wonder everyone loves them both for their bravery, and honours them at the festivals and the assemblies.Ó
980
ThatÕs the sort of thing people will be saying about us so that we will always be famous, in death as well as in life.
Come then, my dear sister, help me for fatherÕs sake! Help our brother and save me from my torment and save yourself, too, because you know well that it is shameful for the noble to accept shame.

990
Chorus:
In this sort of matters careful planning is needed, Elektra, both by the person whose idea it is as well as by the person who receives the idea.

Chrysothemis:
Even before you spoke, ladies, if Elektra had her wits about her she would indeed be very careful! But, of course, she isnÕt!  With what aim have you armed yourself, Elektra with such brashness?  And you even ask me to help you? CanÕt you see?  You are not a man!
1000
You are a woman and one who is weak against our enemies and while all day long Fate gives them joy, for us Fate is gone, disappeared. Who then could tame a man like Aegisthus and escape trouble?  Be careful, too, that nobody else hears of this, or weÕll have even more troubles to deal with. Because what would be the point of gaining great fame in life if we die an infamous death?
Death is not such a dreadful thing but it is dreadful to seek it but not be able to attain it.  Elektra, I implore you!
1010
Take a grip of your anger or else youÕll ruin everything and every one of us!  Stop before you wipe out our whole generation!  DonÕt worry about what was said here.  I shall keep them quiet and think of them as if theyÕve never happened.  You, though, sister, begin to understand that youÕre a weak woman and learn to obey our masters.

Chorus:
Obey her, Elektra!

Chorus:
Nothing but good has ever come from wise words and wise thoughts.

Elektra:
Ha! I knew it! Now what a surprise that was! I knew all along youÕd refuse! Still, I wonÕt let this deed go unaccomplished. I alone, with my own hands shall perform it.

1020
Chrysothemis:
What a pity you didnÕt have this sort of courage when our father was being murdered! Nothing could have stopped you from accomplishing it all then!

Elektra:
I did have the courage, it was the proper understanding of the situation that I didnÕt have.

Chrysothemis:
Try, then Elektra, try to gain this knowledge and keep it for ever.

Elektra:
So, you donÕt want to help me.

Chrysothemis:
Even your praises will mean nothing to me.

1030
Elektra:
And those will never come from me.

Chrysothemis:
WeÕll see about that.  The future is a long time.

Elektra:
Go away then! Go! ThereÕs no getting help from you!

Chrysothemis:
There could well have been but thereÕs no way of telling you.

Elektra:
Run!  Come on, go and tell all this to your mother!

Chrysothemis:
No, I donÕt hold such animosity towards you.

Elektra:
And yet look at what disgrace youÕre throwing me in.

Chrysothemis:
Not a disgrace but a protection for you.

Elektra:
So, whatever you say is correct?  Is that right?

Chrysothemis:
Yes, Elektra.  Be sensible and we could work together with your lead.

Elektra:
The words are good but the deeds are terrible!  What a terrible bane it is!

1040
Chrysothemis:
Terrible bane, indeed!  How correctly you describe your own thoughts!

Elektra:
So, you think IÕm not right?

Chrysothemis:
There are times, too, Elektra, when being right does one harm!

Elektra:
Ha! A life based on such laws is no life at all.

Chrysothemis:
Do as I say and not as you want and youÕll remember me one day.

Elektra:
IÕll do what I want.  Your words do not bother me, Chrysothemis.

Chrysothemis:
So, then, youÕll go ahead?  You wonÕt change your mind?

Elektra:
ThereÕs nothing worse than a bad advice.

Chrysothemis:
YouÕre not listening to anything IÕm saying.

Elektra:
ItÕs been a long time since IÕve taken your advice, Chrysothemis.

1050
Chrysothemis:
Since we canÕt agree about my words and your deeds, then IÕm leaving.

Elektra:
Go! And IÕll never call on you again even if you beg me. ItÕs such a stupid thing to go chasing false hopes!

Chrysothemis:
Certainly. And if you, too, believe that your opinion is wise, stay with it. But when the disaster strikes you, remember my words.

Exit Chrysothemis. Elektra retreats to her corner.

Chorus:
Look how wise are the birds high above!

Chorus:
They nurture their young with tender careÉ

Chorus:
From whom tender care will later come.

Chorus:
Why do we not learn from them and care in equal measure?

1060
Chorus:
Ah!  But by ZeusÕ lighting bolt and ThemisÕ Justice, two gods who rule high in the heavens, it will not be long before the Atridae suffer mighty troubles!

Chorus:
Ah!  But the mouths of mortals spread their voices afar and theyÕll call out beneath the earth, the miserable fates of the house of Atridae!

Chorus:
Calls that carry news of much disgrace. News one cannot celebrate.

1070
Chorus:
Tell them below, voices, tell them that their house, the house of Agamemnon, is ill!

Chorus:
Tell them below, voices, tell them that a battle splits asunder their children!

Chorus:
Tell them below, voices, that their hearts do not lie in harmony!

Chorus:
Tell them Elektra cries on alone and betrayed in a sea of wails!

Chorus:
Like the ever-mourning nightingale her sighs are deep but cannot save the pitiful fate of her father!

Chorus:
Bitter death does not concern her and sheÕs ready to shut her eyes just so she can pursue her double Justice Šone father, one brother!

Chorus:
Who would ever be so brave?

1080
Chorus:
Because, my dear, dear child no one who wants to stay a noble and whoÕs fallen in bad times would want to destroy the honour of his name.

Chorus:
Just like you, who preferred the lot of the everlasting lament and armed yourself against the hard life just so you can gain a double praise: for your mind as well as your virtue.

1090
Chorus:
How I wish that one day youÕd live a life higher than that of your enemies by the same amount as you are now beneath theirs Š much stronger, much wealthier.

Chorus:
Because IÕve known you to live in the bleakest misery, but you still stuck to the laws of Nature, the most sacred of all.

Chorus:
You are virtuous, Elektra and you respect Zeus.

Enter Orestes, Pylades and two attendants. Pylades is carrying an urn

Orestes:
Ladies, have we been directed accurately for our destination?

1100
Chorus:
What are you looking for and what is the purpose that brings you here?

Orestes:
IÕve been looking for AegisthusÕ house for a long time now.

Chorus:
YouÕre here. Whoever gave you the direction was right.

Orestes:
Which of you ladies then could go inside and give them the good news of our arrival?

Chorus: (Indicating Elektra)
She should, if there is a need for a member of the family to do so.

Orestes:  (To Elektra)
Go inside, lady and tell them that some people from Phockis would like to speak with Aegisthus.

Elektra:
Ah, poor me! Could it be that you are bringing signs of proof of the news weÕve just received?

1110
Orestes:
I donÕt know about that but weÕve been sent by old Strophios to tell news about Orestes.

Elektra:
What is it, friend?  Ah, what sudden fear grips me!  What is this news?

Orestes:
As you can see, we came carrying his few remains in this urn.

Elektra:
Ah! What a miserable fate I have! Here it is, in front of me. I can see my own calamity before me!

Orestes:
If it is Orestes youÕre lamenting, know that this urn contains his body.

1120
Elektra:
By all the gods, friend, if this is true, let me hold this urn in my hands so that, with these ashes, I may mourn and cry for myself and for my whole generation.

Orestes: (gives urn to Pylades)
Give it to her whoever she is, Pylades. Offer it to her. I donÕt believe this is a request from an enemy but rather, a relative or a friend.

Elektra: (takes the vessel and begins her lament to OrestesÕ ashes )
Ah!  Dearest, dearest memorial of my brotherÕs life! The man whom I loved more than all the mortals on Earth. Ah, how differently IÕm holding you in my arms now from the way my hopes ran the day I had sent you away!
You shone like the brilliant sun when you left the house but now, here you are, IÕm holding you in my arms, a mere nothing.
1130
How I wish that I had died myself that day instead of sending you into exile!
How I wish these hands didnÕt steal you away that day to save you!
How I wish I had let you die so that you, too, could now be lying in death in our fatherÕs tomb!
No doubt, you, too would have received your own lot of the slaughter that was meted out to your family, back then. Now youÕve suffered a miserable death, an exile in a foreign land, far from your home and far from your sister and I, wretched creature, wretched woman, I could neither wash you nor adorn you with my own hands Š my own loving hands.
1140
I could not pay my debt to you by raising your burnt remnants from the flames of the all-destroying fire.
And so, you came here, a tiny bundle of ashes in a tiny urn.
Despicable Fate! All lost are the cares and concerns I had for you and all lost is the fatigue I suffered raising you!  Orestes, my brother, you were neither our motherÕs most beloved child nor anyone elseÕs in the house.  But mine alone!
I was the only one in the house who could hear the words, ŅsisterÓ and ŅnannyÓ from you.
Now all this has finished. All finished in the one day when you died and, like a storm you rushed them along with you.
1150
Our father is dead and now so am I because of you.  Our enemies are laughing and our horrible mother is driven to distraction with joy.  YouÕve sent me so many secret messages, Orestes, telling me how youÕd come soon to exact Justice.  But there!  You see? Our Spirit of Misfortune has taken it all.  A spirit that brought to me instead of your much-suffered shape, a small bundle of ashes and a hollow shadow!  Ah!
1160
Oh, miserable body!  Oh lamentable Fate! Oh!
Your dire journey here, is my disaster, my true disaster!  Come, Orestes! Take my body also.  Take me, too within this urn: A nothing within a nothing and so, too, it will be, in the world below Šthere IÕll have my home.
While you were alive, Orestes, the two of us had a common Fate but now, if I die, I hope that your bitter tomb wonÕt separate us because as I see it, only the dead donÕt suffer.

1170
Chorus:
Elektra, youÕre a mortal!

Chorus:
Think about it.

Chorus:
You and your father and Orestes.

Chorus:
Unmeasured tears help no one.

Chorus:
Death is a debt we all have to pay.

Orestes: (To Pylades and attendants)
Oh!  What? Could this be true?  All this confuses me.  What could I possibly say to it? I can no longer control my tongue!

Elektra:
What is it, friend?  What worries you?  Why say that?

Orestes:
Is this true? Is this the face of the noble Elektra?

Elektra:
I am Elektra, steeped in ill times and ill fortune.

Orestes:
Oh, what a disastrous sight is this?

1180
Elektra:
It is for me you are sighing, stranger, not for you, is that right?

Orestes:
How badly theyÕve treated you! How without the slightest respect!

Elektra:
It is for me youÕre distressed, stranger and not for some other woman, is this not so?

Orestes:
A bitter and unmarried life!

Elektra:
Stranger, why are you looking at me in this way and distress yourself?

Orestes:
Because I had no idea about the depth of your misfortune.

Elektra:
And from what words did you discover this?

Orestes:
Your torment is most obvious to my eyes.

Elektra:
And yet you see only little of my torment.

Orestes:
What? Is it possible that I could see even worse than this?

1190

Elektra:
Yes, because I live with murderers.

Orestes:
With whom? What gave you the thought that you utter?

Elektra:
My fatherÕs murderers whose slave I am.

Orestes:
But who has put you in this awful situation?

Elektra:
Who?  She who calls herself ŅmotherÓ  but has none of a motherÕs virtues.

Orestes:
How can that happen?  By depriving you of food or by her hard hands? Is she beating you?

Elektra:
With her hands, with starvation and with all other means.

Orestes:
Is there no one to help you and hold them back?

Elektra:
No one.  The only one I had, youÕve brought me his ashes.

Orestes:
Poor woman! All this time IÕve been here, what a desperate state I see you in!

1200
Elektra:
YouÕre the only one in the world whoÕs shown me sympathy.

Orestes:
Because I am the only one who suffers from the same pain.

Elektra:
Are you perhaps a relative from abroad?

Orestes:
I would like to talk if these ladies are friends.

Elektra:
TheyÕre friends and you can trust them with whatever they hear.

Orestes: (Tries to take the urn from her hand)
Give me that urn and listen so that you may know everything.

Elektra:
I swear by all the gods, friend. DonÕt do this to me.

Orestes:
Listen to me and you wonÕt be harmed.

Elektra:
Please, friend, by your beard, I beg you.  ItÕs the only thing IÕve got of Orestes.  DonÕt take it from me.

Orestes:
ItÕs not proper for me to let you keep it.

1210
Elektra: (To the urn)
Poor wretch. I canÕt even burry you in your tomb.

Orestes:
DonÕt distress yourself unduly, Elektra but think. Think well!

Elektra:
How can I not feel distress with my brother in the underworld?

Orestes:
DonÕt utter those words, they are not proper for you.

Elektra:
You mean I am not worthy of my brother?

Orestes:
Quite the contrary but that utterance does not befit you.

Elektra:
No, I think it does, if this is the body of Orestes IÕm holding in my arms.

Orestes:
NoÉ it is not OrestesÕ body.  That is a story we made up!

Elektra:
So where is poor misfortunate OrestesÕ body?

Orestes:
OrestesÕ grave does not exist.  The living do not have graves.

1220
Elektra:
What did you say, friend?
Orestes?
What I just said is not a lie.

Elektra:
Is the young man truly alive?

Orestes:
Can you see me alive?

Elektra: (Puts the urn down gently)
Are you Orestes?

Orestes: (brings out of his garment a ring, wears it and shows it to Elektra)
Look here. FatherÕs ring. Am I not telling the truth?

Elektra:
Oh, bright light of my heart!

Orestes:
Light of my heart, indeed!

Elektra: (She hugs him)
You are here, oh, sweet voice?

Orestes:
Surely you donÕt want another witness?

Elektra:
Is that you I have in my arms?

Orestes:
For ever!

Elektra:
Dear ladies, look! Ladies of my city look at my Orestes whose idea it was to spread the rumour that heÕs dead, right up until this very moment.  HeÕs alive! He is newly born!

1230
Chorus:
We can see!

Chorus:
We can see him, darling daughter and from such joy our eyes are filled with tears.

Elektra:
Ah, birth! This is the birth of a person I love the most.  Ah, my Orestes! You came only just now, you discovered, you left, you saw those you wanted to see!

Orestes:
I am here butÉ be quiet!

(From now on, Orestes is trying to restrict ElektraÕs effusive temperament.  Elektra tries to hold him in her arms, or to touch his cheeks, etc, while Orestes moves back.)

Elektra:
Why? WhatÕs up?

Orestes:
Better be quiet in case someone inside hears us.

Elektra:
By Artemis, the unspoiled virgin, never! Never shall I accept the fear of that. The fear of the flock of these useless women ever living inside, burdening the earth.

Orestes:
Still, be careful.  You know yourself that even women can be blood thirsty

1250

Elektra:
Ah! YouÕve just unveiled our great misfortune, a misfortune that will never be solved, never forgotten and always in our heart.

Orestes:
I know all this well, but we must act when the time is right and not before.

Elektra:
But I think any time is the right time because even now I can feel my mouth free!

Orestes:
I agree, Elektra but this is why you should keep it under control.

Elektra:
Ah, but how?

Orestes:
By not saying words you donÕt need to say.

1260
Elektra:
And exchange silence with your presence Š the presence that I could have never hoped to have seen?  Who could do such a thing?

Orestes:
It is a presence made by the gods at the time of their choosing.

Elektra:
Ah, a GodÕs will! A GodÕs will has brought you to our halls!  If this is true than this is an even more wonderful piece of news than your presence itself.

1270

Orestes:
I wish I didnÕt have to ask you to contain your delight for the time being, my sister but I truly must stop you from overdoing it.

Elektra:
Oh, darling, after so many years you thought fit to take this most wonderful journey to come to me, a creature of much suffering, DonÕtÉ

Orestes:
DonÕt what?

Elektra:
DonÕt deprive me of this pleasure of the sight of your features from close by.

Orestes:
I would be very angry at anyone who wished that!

Elektra:
So you accept?

1280
Orestes:
I do not refuse.

Elektra:
The news, friends, that reached me about his death was intolerable! I stood speechless then, pushing back and drowning my pain. Ah, but now look! Here I have you in front of me and see your dear face, a face that my heart will never forget even in my bleakest moments.

Orestes:
Come, forget the superfluous words for now, sister and stop telling me all this stuff about how our mother is evil and how Aegisthus squanders our family inheritance.
1290
Too many words may lose us the opportunity to perform our deed. Instead tell me only what is useful for me to know this very hour.  Tell me, for example, should we try and wipe the smile off the face of our enemies by approaching them openly or secretly?
And be careful, too, Elektra that, when we two enter the palace, our mother doesnÕt suspect you from that happy face of yours! Sigh a lot, as if for my appalling fate, which of course was a concocted piece of news. We will laugh with joy only after we have accomplished the deed.

1300
Elektra:
Yes, my brother.  I shall do as you please.  Ah, you brought such joy to my heart! Not for the whole world would I displease you even for just a little.
Divine power is helping us Š what sort of recompense would I be paying to it if I acted otherwise?
As for all things past? YouÕre right, of course.  You know them all! Now, you how things are here: Aegisthus is absent from the house but mother is inside. DonÕt worry about her ever seeing happiness on my face.
1310
There is an old hatred etched hard and deep in my heart. And as for the tears of joy, now that IÕve seen you how could they ever stop?  You arrived here and within the one, single day youÕve appeared both dead and alive.  YouÕve worked all these machinations so well that I am completely dazzled. So much so that even if our father suddenly appeared before me I would not for a moment think it was a miracle and I would truly believe my eyes.
But since this is the goal of your journey here, my brother, go ahead, walk your path.  If I had tried this myself, I would have accomplished one of two things: either I would have succeeded in saving myself virtuously or I would have failed and died virtuously.

1320
Orestes:
Hush! I can hear someone coming outside.

Elektra:  (changing tone: to Orestes and his retinue, feigning ignorance)
Go inside, friends. You carry with you things that no one in the palace can either refuse nor would receive with pleasure.
That ŅsomeoneÓ is the Old Slave who comes out of the central palace gate and is angry with Elektra and Orestes. However, heÕs using hushed tones in case he is heard inside.  Elektra, not recognising him is quite disturbed by his admonitions. He, on the other hand, is also frustrated with their constant talking instead of going inside to perform the murders, so that a show of his near-comical ŅpullingÓ them towards the gate is made quite manifest.

Old Slave:
Have you not the slightest bit of wit between you?  Are you so bereft of it?  Either that, or you mustnÕt have the slightest bit of care for your own life!
1330
Do you not realise that youÕre not just near to danger but right in the midst of it?  If I werenÕt guarding this here gate, everyone in the house would know about your deeds even before you had begun them yourselves!  I just knew this would happen so I stood guard. Now cut the idle chatter and your effusive joy and go inside because, in such matters, being slow spells disaster. ItÕs time we went ahead with the deed.

Orestes:
Tell me, how will I find matters when I go in, dear friend?

1340
Old Slave:
Well enough because IÕm certain they wonÕt recognise you.

Orestes:
You would have told them, of course, about my false death.

Old Slave:
So far as they are concerned you are in the world of Hades.

Orestes:
Are they happy about this?  What did they say?

Old Slave:
IÕll tell you all this after the deed is done. For now, whether theyÕre happy or not about your death, is irrelevant.  For them all goes well.

Elektra: (Indicating the Old Slave)
In godÕs name, brother who is this man?

Orestes:
You donÕt remember him?

Elektra:
No, I canÕt recall him at all.

Orestes:
In whose arms did you place me a long time ago?  Do you not remember?

Elektra:
When?  What are you saying?

Orestes:
Thanks to your love, these arms of his took me secretly all the way to Phockis.

1350
Elektra:
You mean, this is the man who, out of all the others, stood by me, alone, during our fatherÕs murder?

Orestes:
Yes, thatÕs him.  But enough of your questions for now.

Elektra:
Oh, light of my eyes, the only, single saviour of the house of Agamemnon!  How did you get here? You are the only one who has saved us two.  (Taking his hands in hers) These dear hands and feet of yours that worked the sweetest of errands!  How was it that, all this time among us I did not recognise you and you did not reveal the truth of the situation but tried hard to ruin me totally with words while your deeds are the very essence of sweetness itself.
Greetings my father. IÕll call you father because I can recognise my father in you. You wouldnÕt be surprised to know that within the one day, I both hated you and loved you more than anyone else!

1362

Old Slave:
Elektra, that is enough! There will be plenty of days and nights for you to find out about everything that happened today. IÕm telling you both:  DonÕt just stand there.  ItÕs time you begun.  Klytaemestra is alone and thereÕs no man in the house but if you donÕt hurry up, then youÕd better be prepared to do battle not only with those two but with many more besides who are even more practiced in the art.

1370
Orestes:
Pylades, letÕs bow to the idols of the family gods out here first and then weÕll hurry inside. Excessive talk helps no one.

Orestes and Pylades kneel before the altar for a couple of seconds before they get up.  Then all men enter the palace.

Elektra: (also goes to the altar, kneels and prays)
O, Lord Apollo hear their prayer and mine too. I have spread open my arms in prayer to you often enough before.
And now Apollo, Sunlord, I kneel before you and beg you Šoffering you the single soul I have.  Come, be our good-hearted helper in these our plans and show the mortals that the gods make them pay due recompense for disrespect.

Elektra follows the others into the palace.

Chorus: (Loudly and quickly, as if following the speedy path of Ares. In musical terms, presto belicoso)
Look!  Look how the warlord spreads his kingdom!

Chorus:
He groans heavily his breaths of blood from where battles are born.

Groans of pain from within

Chorus:
And now hear them!

Chorus:
Hear the dogs of Justice speed through the palace halls, closely pursuing each and every appalling murderer.

Chorus:
It wonÕt be too long now, IÕm certain of that, that my heartÕs dream will begin to become fulfilled.

Chorus:
In there! Look, look!

Chorus:
Orestes, the cunning helper of the dead is heading for his fatherÕs throne, holding a dripping bloodthirsty sword.

Chorus:
And MaiaÕs son, Hermes, look!

Chorus:
The herald to the gods helps him, hiding his plot within shadows so that the deed may be accomplished with no delay.

Enter Elektra excited

Elektra:
Dear ladies, this very moment the men are performing the deedÉ But hush and wait.

1400

Chorus:
How?

Chorus:
Tell us, what are they doing right now?

Elektra:
SheÕs preparing the urn for burial and others are standing around her.

Chorus:
But why are you out here?

Elektra:
To stand guard, in case Aegisthus comes.

From within the palace

Klytaimestra:
Ah!  A palace bereft of friends!  A palace full of murderers!

Elektra:
Hear that? Someone inside is shouting.

Chorus:
I heard, I heard Šthings no ear should hear.

Chorus:
I am shuddering!

Klytaemestra:
Ah! Poor, poor me! Aegisthus where are you?

1410

Elektra:
There!  Again someone shouts!

Klytaemestra:
Come child, do you not feel for the mother who bore you?

Elektra:
As much as you felt for him and his father!

Chorus:
Ah, Argos! Ah abominable generation.

Chorus:
Your old way of life is perishing.

Klytaemestra:
Ahhh!  I am wounded!

Elektra:
trike her twice as hard, if you can!

Klytaemestra:
Ahhhh! I am wounded again!

Elektra:
Ah, how I wish it were like this for Aegisthus as well.

Chorus:
The curses are being fulfilled and those beneath the earth from long ago live again.

Chorus:
The blood of the murderers runs like water as they are struck.

Enter Orestes and the rest. Orestes is holding his sword high.

1420
Chorus:
Here they are.

Chorus:
Their hands drip from the sacrifice to Ares.

Chorus:
What can one say at this?

Elektra:
How are things, Orestes?

Orestes:
If Apollo dictated correctly, all things within the palace go well.

Elektra:
Is the bitch dead?

Orestes:
DonÕt ever be afraid any more of your motherÕs ill treatment.

Chorus:
Hold on, I can clearly see Aegisthus coming!

1430
Elektra:
Men, quickly, go back inside.

Orestes:
Where is he?  Where can you see him?

Elektra:
There!  Full of joy, heÕs heading towards us.  HeÕs been abroad.

Chorus:
Quickly, hide behind the gate and you can talk about this later.

Orestes:
Courage, ladies and this, too will be done.

Elektra:
Hurry, then, go where you must!

Orestes:
Gone!

Elektra:
IÕll take care of matters out here.

Chorus:
It would be wise if you spoke a couple of words softly and sweetly in his ear,

Chorus:
To entangle him in the trap, Elektra, now that itÕs open and then revenge will be easier taken.

Enter Aegisthus with an attendant

1440
Aegisthus:
Does anyone of you know where the strangers from Phockis are?  They brought news of OrestesÕ death, how he was entangled in the straps of his horses. (Turning to Elektra) You! Yes you! IÕm asking you.  Your mouth couldnÕt be silenced until now. YouÕd be the one whoÕd be more interested than all the others and youÕd be in a better position to know.

Elektra:
Of course I know.  If I didnÕt you could call me a stranger to the man I love the most.

1450

Aegisthus:
Well then? Tell me where are these strangers?

Elektra:
They have found accommodation inside.  (Sarcastically) The hostess is most generous.

Aegisthus:
So itÕs true then? They did say Orestes is dead?

Elektra:
Not just Ņsay itÓ but Ņshow it!Ó  Proof, as well as words.

Aegisthus:
SoÉ itÕs here?   I can see it with my own eyes?

Elektra:
Yes, you can see that appalling sight with your own eyes.

Aegisthus:
Ha!  The more you talk the more joy you give me!  Quite the unusual thing for you.

Elektra:
By all means, Aegisthus.  Be happy if such news brings you happiness.

Aegisthus: (very angry)
Shut up!  I order you to shut up!  Open wide the palace gates, so that all may see Ševeryone!  From Mycenae and from Argos.
1460
And whoever had any false hopes about this manÕs return, whoever was happy thinking that he was alive, let him see OrestesÕ corpse and accept humility and his neckÕs yoke. They cannot find me guilty of his death now.  Let him understand this whether he likes it or not.

Elektra:
There! By all means, let me obey you.
Elektra opens the gates slowly, knowingly.  A bier is brought forward whereupon lies Klytaemestra fully covered with a funereal cloth.  Orestes and Pylades stand on either side. Elektra bows knowingly again.
I have done my duty because, after such a long time, I have finally learnt to obey my superiors.

Aegisthus:
Ah! I see a sight that could not have appeared without divine intervention but, God, if you are to punish me for my words, I take them back. (To Orestes and Pylades) Lift the covering! It hides my relativeÕs eyes, let me see them so that I too, may mourn him.

Orestes:
That is something that you must do. It isnÕt proper for me to do it.  The onus is on you to look upon this and mourn.

1470
Aegisthus:
Your advice is correct and I shall accept it. (To his attendant) You! Go into the palace and call Klytaemestra.

Exit attendant.

Orestes:
SheÕs near you.  DonÕt look for her anywhere else!

Aegisthus: (Lifts the cloth and the fearful shock makes him retreat)
Ah! Gods, what do I see?

Orestes: (Draws his sword)
What is it, Aegisthus?  What are you afraid of?  What are you looking at?

Aegisthus:
Ah! Gods! In whose nets have I fallen?

Orestes:
Have you not realised all this time, Aegisthus that you were holding a dialogue with a dead man?

Aegisthus: (thinks for a moment)
Yes!  Yes!  I understand now.  This can be no other than Orestes.

1480
Orestes:
Ha!  You took your time but you finally guessed perfectly!

Aegisthus:
Ah, here is my lifeÕs end!  But, Orestes, let me say a couple of words to you. Let me explain.

Elektra:
For GodÕs sake, brother, shut his mouth for him.  DonÕt let him carry on with worthless chatter. What is the point of giving the condemned just a few extra moments of living? Hurry up. Kill him now! Kill him and throw him to the dogs and the vultures, far from our eyes, which is what he deserves.  Kill him because thatÕs the only appropriate recompense I can get for all heÕs done to me.

1490
Orestes:
Hurry up, get inside!  This is not the time for your speech but for your death!

Aegisthus:
What? YouÕre taking me inside? A great deed needs the shadows and you are ready for the kill!

Orestes:
You talk too much.  Now walk to the same spot where youÕve murdered my father.  There, you too, will fall!

Aegisthus: (His final plea)
After all that the house of Pelops has suffered, is there a need for this as well?

Orestes:
For your own deeds there is.  About this I am certain I prophesy correctly.

Aegisthus:
Prophesy!  This was not your fatherÕs skill.

Orestes:
All this talking back delays the deed. Go!

Aegisthus:
Lead the way.

Orestes:
No, you must enter first.

Aegisthus:
Are you afraid I might run away?

Orestes:
Not at all. I simply want to make sure your death is a bitter one and not how you would prefer it. (To the audience) He who sins against the laws should receive the same punishment swiftly. Death! Then the murderers would be fewer.

Exit all

Chorus:
Brave child of Atreus!

Chorus:
Finally, after so much suffering you have gained your liberty.

Exit All

END OF SOPHOCLESÕ

ŅELEKTRAÓ