Athena Quotes in The Eumenides
Under Apollo’s orders I have come.
Receive me kindly. Curst and an outcast,
No suppliant for purging…my hands are clean.
Two sides are here, and only half is heard.
ATHENA: …you are set
On the name of justice rather than the act.
LEADER: How? Teach us. You have a genius for refinements.
ATHENA: Injustice, I mean, should never triumph thanks to oaths.
LEADER: Then examine him yourself, judge him fairly.
ATHENA: You would turn over responsibility to me,
To reach the final verdict?
We respect you. You show us respect.
But were we just or not? Judge us now.
My fate is in your hands. Stand or fall
I shall accept your verdict.
Embrace the one? Expel the other? It defeats me.
I will appoint the judges of manslaughter,
Swear them in, and found a tribunal here
For all time to come.
Summon your trusted witnesses and proofs,
Your defenders under oath to help your cause.
And I will pick the finest men of Athens,
Return and decide the issue fairly, truly—
Bound to our oaths, our spirits bent on justice.
If you would hear my law, you men of Greece,
You who will judge the first trial of bloodshed.
Now and forever more, for Aegeus’ people
This will be the court where judges reign.
Here from the heights, terror and reverence,
My people’s kindred powers
Will hold them from injustice through the day
And through the mild night.
Untouched by lust for spoil, this court of law
Majestic, swift to fury, rising above you
As you sleep, our night watch always wakeful,
Guardian of our land—I found it here and now.
Beware. Our united force can break your land.
Never wound our pride, I tell you, never.
I will cast my lot for you.
No mother gave me birth.
I honour the male, in all things but marriage.
Yes, with all my heart I am my Father’s child.
I cannot set more store by the woman’s death—
She killed her husband, guardian of their house.
Even if the vote is equal, Orestes wins.
You, you younger gods!—
You have ridden down
The ancient laws, wrenched them from my grasp—
And I, robbed of my birthright, suffering, great with wrath,
I loose my poison over the soil, aieee!
Poison to match my grief comes pouring out my heart,
Cursing the land to burn it sterile and now
Rising up from its roots a cancer blasting leaf and child,
Now for Justice, Justice!—cross the face of the earth
The bloody tide comes hurling, all mankind destroyed.
And now you’d vent your anger, hurt the land?
Consider a moment. Calm yourself. Never
Render us barren, raining your potent showers
Down like spears, consuming every seed.
By all my rights I promise you your seat
In the depths of earth, yours by all rights—
Stationed at hearths equipped with glistening thrones,
Covered with praise! My people will revere you.
This is the life I offer,
It is yours to take.
Do great things, feel greatness, greatly honoured.
Share this country cherished by the gods.
Your magic is working…I can feel the hate,
The fury slip away…
I will embrace
One home with you, Athena,
Never fail the city
Spirit of Athens, hear my words, my prayer,
Like a prophet’s warm and kind,
That the rare good things of life
Come rising crest on crest,
Sprung from the rich black earth and
Gleaming with the bursting flash of sun.
Do you hear how Fury sounds her blessings forth,
How Fury finds the way?
Shining out of the terror of their faces
I can see great gains for you, my people.
Hold them kindly, kind as they are to you.
Exalt them always, you exalt your land,
Your city straight and just –
Its light goes through the world.