Tuesday, January 23, 2007



The image of the Wheel of Fortune is trite. Euripides, Trojan Women 1203-1206 (tr. David Kovacs), has an more interesting comparison:
That man is a fool who imagines he is firmly prosperous and is glad. For in its very nature fortune, like a crazed man, leaps now in one direction, now in another, and the same man is never fortunate forever.

θνητῶν δὲ μῶρος ὅστις εὖ πράσσειν δοκῶν
βέβαια χαίρει· τοῖς τρόποις γὰρ αἱ τύχαι,
ἔμπληκτος ὡς ἄνθρωπος, ἄλλοτ' ἄλλοσε
πηδῶσι, κοὐδεὶς αὐτὸς εὐτυχεῖ ποτε.
Cf. Poseidon's criticism of Athena (earlier in the same play, 67-68) for switching her favor from Greeks to Trojans:
But why do you leap about so, now with one character, now with another? Why hate and love whomever you choose so excessively?

τί δ' ὧδε πηδᾷς ἄλλοτ' εἰς ἄλλους τρόπους
μισεῖς τε λίαν καὶ φιλεῖς ὃν ἂν τύχῃς;
The same word for leap (πηδάω) occurs in both passages.

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