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Tragedy, in a modern tongue

Excerpts from Greek plays and their adaptations by Philip Lerman

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ELECTRA

(translation by John Davie)

Electra: O my long-lost one, I hold you, the one I never thought to see!

Orestes: And I hold you at last!

Electra: I never imagined this!

Orestes: And never did I expect it!

Electra: Are you he?

Orestes: Yes, your only ally... I store the pleasure of your loving greeting in my heart....

Adaptation:

Electra: Give it up. Your cover's been blown....

Orestes: I am Orestes. Your brother.

Electra: Are you really? Oh, please, don't say it if you're not. It would be too cruel.

Orestes: I'm not lying to you, Electra.

Electra: Let me look at you. Let me see your face. Yes, I see something of myself there.

Orestes: Now do you believe me?

Electra: It will take a moment to get used to the idea.

ANTIGONE

(translation by H.D.F. Kitto)

Ismene: What is it? Some dark shadow is upon you.

Antigone: Our brother's burial.... Creon has ordered that none shall bury him...; He must be left to lie unwept, unburied, For hungry birds of prey to swoop and feast on his poor body.... Will you join hands with me...?

Ismene: What dangerous enterprise have you in mind?

Antigone: Will you join me in taking up the body?

Adaptation:

Ismene: Are you alright?

Antigone: Yes. Just tired....

Ismene: Antigone, I've been thinking.... about Polynices, our brother.

Antigone: You mean what's left of him. After the dogs and buzzards have their fill... I'm sorry Ismene. But that's what's happening.

Ismene: What can we do?

Antigone: See that he's properly buried.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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