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Home from Troy at last. How happy I am to see this house once more. But also sad for Never have I seen a house more hedged about by suffering than this. And let me tell you all I know I was putting into shore near Cape Malaya when I first heard the news of Agamemnon's murder at the hands of his wife. For God is the God of sailors and a prophet who does not lie. Suddenly rose from the sea in clear view of the ships him cried Mina Lewis your brother lies dying in his buff. The last bath his wife will ever give him. My crew and die alike burst into tears at this dreadful news. So we reach no player my wife Helen came on ahead at night and I was looking forward to seeing arrestees and his mother thinking of course that they at least were when some sailor told me of the shocking murder of Clytemnestra. Can you tell me women where I might find my nephew Orestes. He was still a baby in his mother's arms when I left for Troy So I would not know him if I saw
arrestees in person and only too willing to tell you the story of my suffering. But first I fall before you on my knees and beg you implore you to rescue me from death. You come in the nick of time gotten everything corpse eyes are dead the living still alive but dead of my despair why how horrible it is my crime is not my looks will stare dry cool how my body is dead. I have the name I did not expect this alteration. I removed it. Well I murdered my mother so I have heard kindly spirit to your horror who I suppose you have though no God spared me. What is your sickness. I call it conscience. The certain knowledge of wrong. The conviction of Christ speaks somewhat obscurely What do you mean I mean remorse. I am sick. Three more goddess Heino but there are q and madness too. The vengeance of my
mother brought into this madness star the very day we built a tomb. My poor mother as to what were you doing when the madness struck were you inside or at the park it was night. I was standing by the pile together. Was there anyone there who could help pieties my accomplice in the mad and scream you describe them. I seemed to see through you women black as night say no more I know the spirits you mean. I refuse to speak their name you are why are all these women you say you hound you with madness for killing your mother. If you knew the torture how the criminals would suffer it is hardly strange that he's one recourse like us I mean most unwise No not that. I mean Apollo it was he who commanded my mother's murder and just an immoral order we obey that God is whoever the gods may be. Apollo despite all this refuses that he will in his own good time of course slow by nature. How long has it been your mother's death. Six days and I
have still only 60 days over how quickly your mother's Avengers. I lack your clever way but I was and am loyal to those I love. What of your father. Is there any help from him. Nothing yet and nothing yet means nothing ever how do you stand with the city so hated and despised that not one person in August will speak to me have your hands been cleansed of the blood. Shut their doors in my face. Who is your worst enemy an axe Palamedes brother. He hated my father because of what had happened to Troisi. He wants your death in revenge for his brother whom I never heard and yet his death kill me and you just as men I suppose they all hate me and the city gives them a hearing now. But will they let you keep your father Sep let me keep the scepter when they won't let me live. What are their plans. The city is voting on a sentence today. What is the verdict. Banishment or death. Death by stoning that what I try to scream We're surrounded by a ring of solid steel. Are they are soldiers or mercenaries hired by it comes to this.
Everyone in August wants me dead. They are unanimous. Your chances look very slim and that is why I turn to you. You are not only hope. Yes we are desperate. You in contrast arrive in August at the moment of success with triumph prosperous and happy. I implore you share that happiness with us. Do not hold your power and success. Help us repay my father's services to you by saving us share if only for an hour and disgrace. In times of trouble not in happiness. That didn't go on his way. That's his system. What can I do. Many layers of all the men on earth I dread to meet this is the one I grant the most the one men in whose presence I fuel the retching shame of what I do. My grandfather to embarrass the man who cared for me when I was
small who held me in his arms who tenderly Memnon his baby boy who loved me. He and leader both no less than their own Castor and Pollux. They love and how have I returned that tenderness and love. Oh gods this worthless wealth cannot cannot hide from that old man's eyes. Where can I find myself a lot of men and women. I was pouring libations on my daughter's grave when I heard the news of his arrival home but no plea after those long years abroad. Helen is also here I understand. Can you show me the way I am most eager to see him again after his long absence. If I had known that he was here I never would have come look at your man and I
asked the man who murdered his mother. Like a snake at the door those sick eyes glowing like code. What a load of subsite. How could you bear to speak to a thing like this why no heart. I love my brother. This is his song. This Agamemnon son this thing yes is son in trouble in Iowa me and your foreign as I see you have taught you their ways as we custom I think to honor your kid not bout to put yourself above the law and say city is legislator here under compulsion no man on earth is bound. Or so I don't act as your theory then it is not mine and I want none of it. Your age and anger crippled your understanding understanding you say what in the name of God does understanding have to do with him. There's a moral question here in dispute between us moral facts are clear to all. If right and wrong a plane is black and white what man ever acted more broadly and more stupidly with a smaller understanding of right and wrong and this man not once mind you did he way the justice of his cause or avail themselves of the law and our courts
for murder. What should he have done when his father died. He would I admit by my own daughter's hand an atrocious crime which I do not condone and never show. He should have hailed his mother into a court charged formally with murder and made her pay the penalty prescribed expulsion from his house. Legal action not murder. That was the course to take. Under the circumstances a hard choice true but the course of social control and due respect for law and the better choice of two evils. But as things stand now what difference is there between him and his mother. No vicious as she was. If anything the evil he has done by killing her has far surpassed her crime. Think again Mina Laos. Suppose a wife murders her husband or son then follow suit by killing her and his son then must have his murder too and so on. Where I want to know can this chain of murder end. Can it
ever end in fact since the last to kill is doomed us to end in a permanent sentence of death by revenge. No our ancestors handled these matters well by banning them from public sight by bidding them to meet or speak to anyone. But the point is this. They purge their guilt by banishment not death by so doing they stop that endless vicious cycle of murder and revenge. Do not mistake. Me I despise adultery and unfaithful wives and my daughter quite a nice dry and adulterous and murderous to boot. Most of all as we all wife Helen. I love her too and never wish to speak to her again nor I might add do I envy you your trip to Troy to bring your whore back home. No sir not my daughter but the law that is my consent. There I take my stand defending it with all my heart and strength against a brutal and inhuman spirit of murder that corrupts our cities and destroys our country. Yes your hard name OnStar. If you are one spirit I said. When I was your
pity your How about today. Your mother bed a breast and beg you for a life. I did not see that pitiful sight but the very thought of it makes the tears come to these eyes. One thing I know for certain have unloaded as you know these bits of madness are the price you pay for murder. Heaven itself has made you mad no further proof is needed. They warned men Alas if you help this man if you so much as lift a finger in his defense you will challenge the expression will of Heaven. So let him be like them stone him to death. All right give you a warning. Never step foot in Sparta again. My own daughter is dead and she deserved to die. But it was wrong that he should give her except for my daughters. I might have lived a happy man died in peace but they are my fortunes failed so I shrink from
speaking. Knowing almost anything I say were displease you or offend you. My murder of my mother was I made her cry. But in another sense by killing her I avenge my father and there was no crime at all. Wait this isn't. Let me speak. This respect I feel for your age cripples me frames me. If you only knew how that white hair of yours hers me was free. What else could I have done. I had to do with these two player choices both of them conflicting. My father Peacocke me my mother gave me birth. She was the father in which his seed was sown but without the father there is no birth. That being so I thought I ought to stand by him the true agent of my birth him being rather than with her who merely brought me up and then your daughter. I blush with shame to call that woman my mother you know mock marriage and the private rites
of lust took a lover in our bed and I hurt myself as much as I hurt her by that admission. But I admit it. What does it matter now. Yes it does this was her lover. He was the husband hidden in the house. So I killed them both. Two murders both committed for a single motive of avenging my father. For this you threaten me with stoning but in fact I did a service a patriotic service. Tell me what would happen if our women decided to adopt my mother's example kill their husbands and then came rushing home to their children exposing their breasts. Pity they could murder a man for any trifle on any pretext. My crime is you call it has stopped that practice or kept it from spreading. I had every right to kill her but I hated her and I had every reason in the world to hate my poor father away from home. A soldier fighting in war and his country service. And what did she do. Free to come over and be creative. When she was corporate You do the proper thing and put yourself to death. Not my
mother knows a murderer. Should not invoke the gods when defending myself on the charge of God's name in the name of Heaven what was I supposed to do. So during by keeping still. What would you have done. Hounded me with the Furys all fathers hatred of the Fury's on my mother's side but none to help him and his deep at. It could you. You destroyed me. You are the father of that woman who killed my father and made a murderer of me. What have this Could this is had a son but was compelled to kill his mother and were free were a few things to take. She was loyal to a distance. What if this or have you forgotten Apollo the god of Delphi navel in the center of the world the one God whose every word mankind obeys blindly. He commanded my mother as a human.
He's like oh good not I. What could I do. Was he competent to command a murder but no incompetent the guilt. Can I go what can I do if the God who ordered me to kill my mother cannot or will not save me. One more thing. Let no man say that what we did was wrong but that doing what we did we did it to our great cost in misery. His induction. So in marriage too. And with luck it may go well. But when a marriage fails then those who live at home in hell. Since bluster is your answer you insist on brazening it out and every word you speak is set in spite. I am even more impatient than before to see you all die. My purpose in coming here was to lay some flowers on your mother's grave. But now by God I have a deeper motive.
Your death I will go to the archives myself. They may resent it but by heaven I will hound them until they stone your sister and you out of debt. Yes your sister too. She deserves it by God even more than you. It was she that girl who incited you against your mother stopping your ears day in and day out with her malison Ben I'm telling you her dreams of Agamemnon's ghost and what he said to cling to your your mother's adultery which I dearly hope offends the gods below as much as it disgusted us on Earth. That was her effort. Yeah she worked on you until she set this whole house on fire with the arson of our mattress. No and men are they us do not make the mistake of siding with outlaws and criminals like this against God fearing and law abiding men. Servants lead me away. Go ahead. No that many layers here the rest of my appeal uninterrupted spell is the nuisance of respecting your own age.
With minimal trouble Look let me think. I am trying to decide on the wisest course. Frankly I am puzzled. Postpone decision for a while. You know what I have to say and then decided to leave you. You know there are times for keeping still and times for speaking out and this is the time to speak. Go ahead. Let me be honest when alas it is not your money that I need. What I want from you is what my father gave you once by which I do not mean money I mean life. Give me life and you give me something more precious than money. I committed the crime and I admit it. But right or wrong it is only right that you should do some wrong to help me now. When my father mustered a NAMI for the siege of cry he also did a wrong. And yet that wrong was generous. He did that wrong for you to right the wrong that your wife Helen did and wrong for wrong you owe me that wrong you know. Good brother that he was my father volunteered his life for you fighting as a soldier
at your side for 10 long years of war and why. This saloon to help you when your wife and bring her home. What you had of him. I know executive you write on my behalf not 10 long years but one brief day again my sister if a Janaya died at all is on your account. But any claim I have on you for my sister's death I freely waive my new maid live but as things stand now I cannot press my claim and I forgive you your advantage. But repay my father's loan. Settle your score with him by saving a horse. I think if I die I'd leave my father's house. Ellis all friend of life impossible you say. Surely this is just the point. Mind the ladies if you love us this is the time to help now when everything we have is lost. Who wants help when the gods are good and all is well. You know who the men whom Heaven helps has friends enough. But no we need your help. Well have us knows how
much you love your wife. I'm not trying to flatter you wheedle you but in heaven's name I beg you. In the name of all our homes all family own uncle my father's brother save us no. Imagine that my dead father in his grave listens to me now that his spirit is hovering over you that he himself is speaking bleeding through my lips. You have seen the sufferings and despair and I have begged you Paul my life long. The one hope of every man on earth not mine alone. Oh I am only a woman but I implore you. How much lies in you all believe me Orestes I sympathise from the bottom of my heart and nothing in this world would please me more than to honor that touching appeal for help. We are joined Besides by a common bond of blood. And I am on a bound to come to your defense against your enemies even at the cost of my life obliged in short to do everything it lies in my power to do. God knows I
only wish I could. But it just so happens that I arrived in Argos in a weakened way devoid of support my allies have dwindled away myself exhausted by our terrible ordeal and barely able to count on even a fraction of my former friends. Under the circumstances I think you would agree the obvious notion of beating Argos to her knees by a show of strength is quite out of the question. Let me be frank. We are we and therefore our weapons must be diplomacy and tact. Inadequate I admit but not perhaps quite hopeless. What I was even to suggest a show of strength as a way out given our present weakness is pople folly. Look at it this way my boy mobs in their emotions are much like children subject to the same tantrums and fits of fury. But this anger must be treated with grief. Patients rather like a fire that gets out of control. Hands off is
best. You sit quietly by watching and waiting patiently biding your time while their fury runs its course unchecked with any luck it quickly burns itself out and in the wild the wind is shifting anything you want is yours. Going there however is only one of their moods. Beauty is another but precious assets both. If you know what you're doing. Now this is my plaid. I'll go and smooth matters over with $10 in the city and persuade them to moderate their tone. Now as with politics make a cloth to top it and your ship will depend. But it's like an oar. Then trim your sails and things head up again. The gods you know resign to being immature and too much in the same way the people dislike being pushed or hustled too much zeal is where your direction works and our only chance of saving what hole lies in school in time to not be in force as you perhaps
imagine. But these are the facts on my own I like the men and strength your rescue requires and they are guides I know are not the sort of men to be overawed by threats. If we are wise we will do what we must and accept the facts really have no other choice.
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Classical drama
Orestes, part 2
Producing Organization
University of Michigan
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program presents part two of Orestes by Euripides.
Series Description
This series presents full-length productions of Greek and Roman plays of antiquity in modern English translation with original music especially composed for this series. Each play is introduced by William Arrowsmith, University of Texas.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Composer: Gillis, Don, 1912-1978
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
Speaker: Arrowsmith, William, 1924-1992
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-58-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:21:36
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Chicago: “Classical drama; Orestes, part 2,” 1961-11-30, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 21, 2024,
MLA: “Classical drama; Orestes, part 2.” 1961-11-30. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 21, 2024. <>.
APA: Classical drama; Orestes, part 2. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from