sábado, 22 de março de 2014

Mourning Becomes Electra

ουδεὶς τῶν αγαθῶν γὰρ
ζῶν κακῶς εύκλειαν αισχῦναι θέλει
νώνυμος, ω παῖ παῖ ·
ὡς καὶ σὺ πάγκλαυτον αιῶνα κοινὸν εἵλου,
τὸ μὴ καλὸν καθοπλίσασα δύο φέρειν εν ἑνὶ λόγῳ,
σοφά τ'αρίστα τε παῖς κεκλῆσθαι.
(Sophoclis Electra 1082-1087, edidit Jebb (1894)

The question now arises, what has Electra been doing (in the opinion of the Chorus) in choosing a life of mourning in common with Agamemnon?

The MSS all have τὸ μὴ καλὸν καθοπλίσασα κτλ., and this is translated by all editors (those that is who do not emend the words) more or less as follows: 'having warred down dishonour so as to win a twofold guerdon, namely to be called (once and for all) both a wise and a very good daughter.' But this version (which goes back to the Scholiast, who explains τὸ μὴ καλὸν καθοπλίσασα as καταπολεμήσασα τὸ αισχρόν) gives an unexampled meaning to καθοπλίζω, which elsewhere always means 'equip'. Therefore, the text has been widely suspected, and a number of emendations have been proposed, almost all substituting another word for καθοπλίσασα, meaning 'having conquered', 'rejected', or the like.

The great objection to all these conjectures is that, apart from eliminating the 'good' (i.e. picturesque, descriptive) word καθοπλίσασα (cf. Lloyd-Jones, C.Q. n.s. 4 (1954) 95) they all end up by making the Chorus say that Electra has a right to be called wise as well as good (lit. 'best': but αρίστα here simply replaces αγαθή), because of the fact that, not introducing a negative with καθοπλίσασα, they do not cancel out the result-infinitive (φέρειν) and they thus make Electra win (unqualifiedly) the two prizes, 'being called both wise and good'. That the Chorus should agree that Electra is to be called 'good' is natural and certain. What they cannot possibly declare is that she is also to be called wise, having themselves explicitly or implicitly said that she is not wise (in her present conduct - and what else can they be talking about here?) at 990-1 and 1015-16. The same charge of inconsistency naturally applies also to retaining the MS reading and rendering καθοπλίσασα = καταπολεμήσασα or the like.

What is needed is to emend 1087 in such a way as to introduce a negative along with καθοπλίσασα. This I have done, and have thus, I hope, restored the line. The meaning  now is that Electra has chosen her lot of mourning 'not having armed (or equipped) ignobility (so as) to win two prizes at once [ἑνὶ λόγῳ may mean simply 'on one account', i.e. ἅμα - but the phrases may also mean 'by one argument': cf. below], so as to be called once for all (= the force of the perfect κεκλῆσθαι) a daughter both wise and very good'. For the plural τὰ μὴ καλὰ = 'what is not good' (abstract) cf. 972 τὰ χρηστά, Eur. Hipp. 331 εκ τῶν γὰρ αισχρῶν εσθλὰ μηχανώμεθα. In saying this the Chorus of course are not denying that Electra is 'good'. Far from it! They are just about to say that she is supremely 'good' (1097). What they do deny is that she has tried to combine goodness with wisdom; they are saying that she has not tried to get the best of both of two possible worlds, by appearing both good and wise. For their judgement of course remains that she is imprudent. But they admire her for a lonely excellence, an ancient and unwordly adherence to heroic and aristocratic standards: put in modern terms, c'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre'.

J.H. Kells. Electra - Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics. P183-184, comentário a 1077ssq. Cambridge University Press (1973).

ουδεὶς τῶν αγαθῶν ζῶν
κακῶς εύκλειαν αισχῦναι θέλει
νώνυμος, ω παῖ παῖ,
ὡς καὶ σὺ πάγκλαυτον αι-
ῶνα κοινὸν εἵλου,
τὸ μὴ καλ' ου καθοπλίσα-
σα δύο φέρειν εν ἑνὶ λόγῳ,
σοφά τ'αρίστα τε παῖς κεκλῆσθαι.
(Sophoclis Electra 1082-1087, edidit Kells (1973)

Fotograma da gravação da encenação da Elektra de Richard Strauss (1909)
com direcção de Karl Böhm e encenação de Götz Friedrich (1981)
e com Leonie Rysanek no papel de Elektra.
O libretto foi composto por Hoffmannsthal, que se inspirou principalmente em Sófocles.
Foi a primeira ópera que eu vi e ouvi .

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