And so I say that for brutality and infamy there is no one to equal a woman who can contemplate such deeds. Who else could conceive so hideous a crime as her deliberate butchery of her husband and her lord?
[ὣς οὐκ αἰνότερον καὶ κύντερον ἄλλο γυναικός,
ἥ τις δὴ τοιαῦτα μετὰ φρεσὶν ἔργα βάληται:
οἷον δὴ καὶ κείνη ἐμήσατο ἔργον ἀεικές,
κουριδίῳ τεύξασα πόσει φόνον.]
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 11, l. 427ff (11.427) [Agamemnon] (c. 700 BC) [tr. Rieu (1946)]
Agamemnon, in the Underworld, telling Odysseus of his betrayal by Clytemnestra. Original Greek. Alternate translations:
Nothing so heap’d is with impieties,
As such a woman that would kill her spouse
That married her a maid.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]
Nothing so cruel as a woman yet
Did nature e’er produce; a thought so ill
In any other breast did never sit,
As her own loving husband’s blood to spill.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 409ff]
O woman, woman, when to ill thy mind
Is bent, all hell contains no fouler fiend:
And such was mine! who basely plunged her sword
Through the fond bosom where she reign'd adored!
[tr. Pope (1725)]
So that the thing breathes not, ruthless and fell
As woman once resolv’d on such a deed
Detestable, as my base wife contrived,
The murther of the husband of her youth.
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 519ff]
Since nought exists more horrible and bold
Than evil in the breast of womankind,
When she to her own lust herself hath sold,
Even as this fell monster in her mind
Against the husband of her youth designed
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 60]
Thus there is nought more horrible and shameless,
Than woman, who such deeds as these could think on!
Like as she compassed this unseemly deed --
Blood -- murder 'gainst the husband of her youth!
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]
Nought can more fearful be --
Nought more revolting in all shamelessness
Than Woman of this stamp, who to her heart
Such schemes could lay: For what a loathsome act
Was that which she design'd by bloody death
The husband to destroy, whom in her youth
She had in lawful wedlock made her vow!
[tr. Musgrave (1869), l. 659ff]
So surely is there nought more terrible and shameless than a woman who imagines such evil in her heart, even as she too planned a foul deed, fashioning death for her wedded lord.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]
Nought more shameless or more fearful than a woman may ye find
When she at last conceiveth such deeds within her mind.
E'en such a deed so unseemly as she imagined for me,
To murder her wedded husband!
[tr. Morris (1887), l. 427ff]
Ah, what can be more horrible and brutish than a woman when she admits into her thoughts such deeds as these! And what a shameless deed she plotted to bring about the murder of the husband of her youth!
[tr. Palmer (1891)]
For there is nothing in this world so cruel and so shameless as a woman when she has fallen into such guilt as hers was. Fancy murdering her own husband!
[tr. Butler (1898)]
So true is it that there is nothing more dread or more shameless than a woman who puts into her heart such deeds, even as she too devised a monstrous thing, contriving death for her wedded husband.
[tr. Murray (1919)]
I tell you, there is nought more awful and inhuman than a woman who can fondle in her heart crimes so foul as this conception of my wife's to murder the husband of her youth.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]
So there is nothing more deadly or more vile than a woman
who stores her mind with acts that are of such sort, as this one
did when she thought of this act of dishonor, and plotted
the murder of her lawful husband.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]
there’s nothing more deadly, bestial than a woman
set on works like these -- what a monstrous thing
she plotted, slaughtered her own lawful husband!
[tr. Fagles (1996)]
Is more grim or more shameless than a woman
Who sets her mind on such an unspeakable act
As killing her own husband.
[tr. Lombardo (2000), l. 443ff]
So there is nothing at all more dreadful or vile than a woman who in the thought of her heart meditates this kind of misdoing like that woman who craftily plotted a deed so indecent causing the death of the husband she wedded.
[tr. Merrill (2002)]
There is nothing more terrible, nor anything more shameless, than a woman who can plan deeds like this in her heart, deeds like this ugly crime that Clytemnestra plotted: the murder of her lawfully wedded husband.
[tr. Verity (2016)]
There's nothing more frightful or shameless than a woman who conceives the idea of such misdeeds in her heart, like the horrifying act that this woman planned, contriving her own wedded husband's murder.
[tr. Green (2018)]
The truth is, there’s nothing more disgusting,
more disgraceful, than a woman whose heart
is set on deeds like this -- the way she planned
the shameless act, to arrange the murder
of the man she married.
[tr. Johnston (2019), l. 539ff]
Added on 16-Jun-21 | Last updated 15-Dec-21
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