Saturday, September 16, 2006


Hostile Laughter in Euripides' Medea

To other examples of hostile laughter in Greek tragedy, add these from Euripides' Medea (tr. Moses Hadas and John McLean).

If I am caught entering the palace or devising my bonfire I shall be slain and my enemies shall laugh.

                εἰ ληφθήσομαι
δόμους ὑπεσβαίνουσα καὶ τεχνωμένη͵
θανοῦσα θήσω τοῖς ἐμοῖς ἐχθροῖς γέλων.
My friends, I cannot bear being laughed at by my enemies.

οὐ γὰρ γελᾶσθαι τλητὸν ἐξ ἐχθρῶν͵ φίλαι.
Do I want to make myself a laughing-stock by letting my enemies off scot-free?

                βούλομαι γέλωτ΄ ὀφλεῖν
ἐχθροὺς μεθεῖσα τοὺς ἐμοὺς ἀζημίους;
You could not hope, nor your princess either, to scorn my love, make a fool of [laugh at] me, and live happily ever after.

σὺ δ΄ οὐκ ἔμελλες τἄμ΄ ἀτιμάσας λέχη
τερπνὸν διάξειν βίοτον ἐγγελῶν ἐμοί·
οὐδ΄ ἡ τύραννος.
True, but it's worth the grief, since you cannot scoff [laugh at me].

σάφ΄ ἴσθι· λύει δ΄ ἄλγος͵ ἢν σὺ μὴ ΄γγελᾷς.

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