sexta-feira, agosto 04, 2006

Euripides - Hippolytos

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Euripides' play, Hippolytos/Hippolytus, part of a speech by Phaedra:

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Many a time in night's long empty spaces I have pondered the causes of a life's shipwreck. I think that our lives are worse than the mind's quality would warrant. There are many who know virtue. We know the good, we apprehend it clearly, but we can't bring it to achievement. Some are betrayed by their own laziness, and others value some other pleasure above virtue. (David Grene, 1942)

How often, when insomnia made endless the raw hours before daylight, I have worked out in my mind why people's lives come crashing down. I don't think all our failure and suffering can be blamed on our blundering minds. There's more to it. Most people see clearly what's right for them, attracted by it, but we can't make it, we freeze — because we're lazy or because we're distracted, some of us openly find a world of pleasures more intense than duty.
(Robert Bagg, 1973)

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarHow often, sleepless in the night, I've wondered why mortals wreck their lives. We're evil by nature? I don't believe it. No lack of decent people. So: We learn what's right, we know it - and how many choose to live it? Can't be bothered! This pleasure, that beats what's right; there are plenty to choose from.
(Frederic Raphael & Kenneth McLeish, 1997)

How often in the sleepless reaches of the night have I mused on the ways our human life is wrecked. It seems to me this penchant for disaster is not something we were born with (witness the good sense of many) but something to be explained another way. We know what is right, we understand it, but do not do it ... partly from laziness, partly from allowing pleasure to swamp our sense of duty.
(Paul Roche, 1998)

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarOft ere now in heedless mood through the long hours of night have I wondered why man's life is spoiled; and it seems to me their evil case is not due to any natural fault of judgment, for there be many dowered with sense, but we must view the matter in this light: by teaching and experience to learn the right but neglect it in practice, some from sloth, others from preferring pleasure of some kind or other to duty.
(Edward P. Coleridge, 1891)

How oft, in other days than these, have I through night’s long hours thought of man’s misery, and how this life is wrecked! And, to mine eyes, not in man’s knowledge, not in wisdom, lies the lack that makes for sorrow. Nay, we scan and know the right — for wit hath many a man — but will not to the last end strive and serve. For some grow too soon weary, and some swerve to other paths, setting before the Right the diverse far-off image of Delight: And many are delights beneath the sun!
(Gilbert Murray, 1911)

I have pondered before now in other circumstances in the night's long watches how it is that the lives of mortals are in ruins. I think that it is not owing to the nature of their wits that they fare worse than they might, since many people possess good sense. Rather, one must look at it this way: we know and understand what is noble but do not bring it to completion. Some fail from laziness, others because they give precedence to some other pleasure than being honorable.
(David Kovacs, 1994)

Once in a while in the long night I ponder mortal life and how it is ruined. Not from bad judgment do people go wrong — many are quite reasonable — no look, it's this: we know what is right, we understand it, but we do not carry it out. Either from laziness, or we value something else, some pleasure.
(Anne Carson, 2006)

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para AumentarI came across a review in the Globe by Dennis Duffy of 'Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides' translated by Anne Carson. I have been wondering on this theme myself in the last while and it caught my eye. I read and re-read his play Medea many times over the years; she being (to me) the epitome of certain unbridled feminists (the images are of Medea not Phaedra, by Eugène Delacroix, Etienne Dauvergne, and Bernard Safran). At first, I thought maybe Euripides/Phaedra had something to tell me, but having put all this together, I think not; not this little piece anyway. Phaedra is consumed by lust, Hippolitus is recalcitrant - this has not been a common situation for me.

I once knew a fellow named Dennis. One night (he told me) he was signing in at a motel with a lovely young nubile companion and as the clerk wrote his name in the register he said, "no, Dennis with two n's," which the clerk misunderstood as his last name, writing, "Toenz". He went by that name, Denis Toenz, for years afterwards.

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