Scene from Sophocles’
where she has attempted to bury her dead brother
Explain something to me without elaborating.
Were you aware of my decree forbidding this?
Of course I knew. We all knew.
And still you dared to violate the law?
I did. It wasn’t Zeus who issued me
this order. And Justice—who lives below—
was not involved. They’d never condone it!
I deny that your edicts—since
a mere man,
imposed them—have the force to trample on
the gods’ unwritten and infallible laws.
Their laws are not ephemeral, they weren’t
made yesterday, and they will last forever.
No man knows how far back in time they go.
I’d never let any man’s arrogance
bully me into breaking the god’s laws.
I’ll die someday—how could I not know that?
I knew it without your proclamation.
If I do die young, that’s an advantage,
for doesn’t a person like me, who lives
besieged by trouble, escape by dying?
My own death isn’t going to bother me,
But I would be devastated to see
my mother’s son die and rot unburied.
I’ve no regrets for what I’ve done. And if you
consider my acts foolhardy, I say:
Look at the fool charging me with folly.