Sophocles · 430 pages
Rating: (52.3K votes)
“If through no fault of his own the hero is crushed by a bulldozer in Act II, we are not impressed. Even though life is often like this—the absconding cashier on his way to Nicaragua is killed in a collision at the airport, the prominent statesman dies of a stroke in the midst of the negotiations he has spent years to bring about, the young lovers are drowned in a boating accident the day before their marriage—such events, the warp and woof of everyday life, seem irrelevant, meaningless. They are crude, undigested, unpurged bits of reality—to draw a metaphor from the late J. Edgar Hoover, they are “raw files.” But it is the function of great art to purge and give meaning to human suffering, and so we expect that if the hero is indeed crushed by a bulldozer in Act II there will be some reason for it, and not just some reason but a good one, one which makes sense in terms of the hero’s personality and action. In fact, we expect to be shown that he is in some way responsible for what happens to him.”
“Of all vile things current on earth, none is so vile as money.”
“How dreadful it is when the right judge judges wrong!”
“You are the king no doubt, but in one respect,
at least, I am your equal: the right to reply.
I claim that privilege too.
I am not your slave. I serve Apollo.
I don't need Creon to speak for me in public.
you mock my blindness? Let me tell you this.
You with your precious eyes,
you're blind to the corruption in your life,
to the house you live in, those you live with-
who are your parents? Do you know? All unknowing
you are the scourge of your own flesh and blood,
the dead below the earth and the living here above,
and the double lash of your mother and your father's curse
will whip you from this land one day, their footfall
treading you down in terror, darkness shrouding
your eyes that now can see the light!
you'll scream aloud - what haven won't reverberate?
What rock of Cithaeron won't scream back in echo?
That day you learn the truth about your marriage,
the wedding-march that sang you into your halls,
the lusty voyage home to the fatal harbor!
And a crowd of other horrors you'd never dream
will level you with yourself and all your children.
There. Now smear us with insults - Creon, myself
and every word I've said. No man will ever
be rooted from the earth as brutally as you.”
“Sentry: King, may I speak?
Creon: Your very voice distresses me.
Sentry: Are you sure that it is my voice, and not your conscience?
Creon: By God, he wants to analyze me now!
Sentry: It is not what I say, but what has been done, that hurts you.
Creon: You talk too much.”
“And if my present actions strike you as foolish, let's just say I've been accused of folly by a fool.”
“Reason is God's crowning gift to man, and you are right
To warn me against losing mine. I cannot say—
I hope that I shall never want to say!— that you
Have reasoned badly. Yet there are other men
Who can reason, too; and their opinions might be helpful.
You are not in a position to know everything
That people say or do, or what they feel:
Your temper terrifies them—everyone
Will tell you only what you like to hear.”
“One soul is enough, I know, to pay the debt for thousands, if one will go to the gods in all good faith.”
“The dead alone feel no pain.”
“Show me a man who longs to live a day beyond his time who turns his back on a decent length of life, I'll show the world a man who clings to folly.”
“It's not through words but actions that I want to set the luster on my life.”
“...Time, sweeping through its rounds, gives birth to infinite nights and days...”
“Even in these straits our life is not as pitiful as you'd think, so long as we find joy in every hour.”
“By God, I'll have more booty in a moment.”
“It is not in words that I should wish my life to be distinguished, but rather in things done.”
“Commit cruelty on a person long enough and the mind begins to go.”
“It's little I ask, and get still less, but quite enough for me.”
“You'll never find a man on Earth, if a god leads him on, who can escape his fate.”
“To a terrible place which men’s ears may not hear of, nor their eyes see it.”
“Time alone can bring the just man to light - the criminal you can spot in just one short day.”
“Of evils current upon earth The worst is money. Money 'tis that sacks Cities, and drives men forth from hearth and home; Warps and seduces native innocence, And breeds a habit of dishonesty.”
“In a just cause the weak will beat the strong!”
“Alas for the seed of man.”
“And remember that the captor is now the captive; the hunter is in the snare. What was won by stealth will not be kept.”
“who seeks shall find; Who sits with folded hands or sleeps is blind.”
“The wisest man will let himself be swayed By others' wisdom and relax in time.”
“His self-respect was at its lowest ebb.”
“Heck, that woman out there looked like she was getting more from one kiss than Jessica had ever gotten from the whole insert-dick-move-around shebang.”
“And of course, I had to see you today, on your birthday.” “You remembered?” He turned to her, expression earnest. “I remember everything about you, Miss Macy. Every moment between us—the good and the bad.”
“You do not strike me as a Lothario. You're far too serious for the part.'
'Oh? I did give it a small try, if you recall. And your mouth tasted quite sweet. But perhaps I was too subtle?'
From an airy exchange of quips, he had suddenly moved onto solid ground ... 'You're a skillful flirt,' she managed. 'I will give you that.'
'And you're no flirt at all. Come, give it a try. Tell me how a rogue charms a woman, if not through sober, industrious application.'
Her lips twitched. 'That sounds like the factory brand of roguery. But all you need do is attend to a woman's vanity, I suppose.'
'Ah, yes. Of course. It comes back to me now; I've been going about it all wrong. THe first thing I should have said is that you are the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.'
She laughed despite herself. 'That's a clever sort of compliment, seeing as it reserves you the right to change your mind with the next woman you meet.”
“Although, I admit, I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can't honestly complain:
A certain minor light may still
Out of kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then -- ”
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