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Friday, February 11, 2011

abusive use of the second person pronoun

In Sophocles Electra 1445-1447 Aegisthus addresses Electra using intentionally disrespectful language. The repetition of the second person singular pronoun Σέ ... σὲ ... σὲ ... σοι demonstrates his disdain for Electra. 

Sophocles Electra 1442-1449
Τίς οἶδεν ὑμῶν ποῦ ποθ' οἱ Φωκῆς ξένοι
οὕς φασ' Ὀρέστην ἡμὶν ἀγγεῖλαι βίον
λελοιπόθ' ἱππικοῖσιν ἐν ναυαγίοις;
Σέ τοι, σὲ κρίνω, ναὶ σὲ τὴν ἐν τῷ πάρος
χρόνῳ θρασεῖαν· ὡς μάλιστά σοι μέλειν
οἶμαι, μάλιστα δ' ἂν κατειδυῖαν φράσαι.
{ΗΛ.} Ἔξοιδα· πῶς γὰρ οὐχί; συμφορᾶς γὰρ ἂν
ἔξωθεν εἴην τῶν ἐμῶν γε φιλτάτων.

Sophocles Electra 1442-1449 R. C. Jebb 1894
Which of you can tell me where those Phocian strangers are,
who are said to have brought report for us that Orestes
passed away amidst the shipwrecked chariots?
You, you I ask, yes, you, who were in former
days so bold. It seems to me that this concerns you most,
so you must know best, and can best tell me.

I do know. How could I not? Otherwise I would be
an alien to the fortune of my nearest kinsmen


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