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The Oedipus of Seneca Author(s): Ted Hughes Reviewed work(s): Source: Arion, Vol. 7, No. 3 (Autumn, 1968), pp. 324-371 Published by: Trustees of Boston University Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20163141 . Accessed: 14/02/2013 20:40
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OEDIPUS copyright ? 1969 by Ted Hughes

ARION, VOL. 7, NO. 3

Copyright ? arion
University

1969 by arion

is published quarterly by the Dean of the Graduate School, The


of Texas.

in U.S. and Canada. $1.50. $5.00 per volume copy: Single The University of Texas be sent to arion, Press, Austin, must Second order. class postage Texas 78712. accompany Payment rates paid at Austin, Texas. 14B Waggener be sent to The Editors, should arion, Hall, Manuscripts cannot be respon 78712. The editors of Texas, Austin The University not be returned which unless will sible for unsolicited manuscripts, Subscription: Orders should accompanied by a stamped, sett-addressed envelope.

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THE OEDIPUS OF SENECA

adapted by

TED HUGHES

1969 by Ted Hughes

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Contents

7/3
324

Autumn

1968

THE OEDIPUS OF SENECA

Ted Hughes
RILKE'S BIRTH OF VENUS Christopher DEATH Plutarch Middleton 392 6, translated 372

AND THE MYSTERIES de Anima, fragment

by C. /. Herington 393

PENGUIN CLASSICS: A REPORT ON TWO DECADES Introduction


Homer, D.

395
S. Carne-Ross 400

Herodotus and Thucydides, Adam Parry Greek Tragedy, Hugh Kenner 416 Aristophanes, Cedric Whitman 422 Plato and Aristotle, Thomas Gould 426 Roman Comedy, Douglas Parker 434 Roman Epic, David Armstrong 441 Catullus, Tim Reynolds 453 Rorace, James Hynd 466 Roman History, Gareth Morgan 472 477 Propertius and Juvenal, /. P. Sullivan Seneca's Tragedies, C. J. Herington 487 A BETTER TRADITION 491

409

Henry Ebel
SCHOLIA
SENECA OR SCENARIO? 5OI

Ian Scott-Kilvert FORUM


AESCHYLUS AT THE BILLY ROSE 512

Steven

Shankman to D. S.

TOWARD A DEPARTMENT OF LITERATURE: A Reply Carne-Ross 515 Wayne A. Rebhorn ANNOUNCEMENT 522

NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS 524


cover and vignettes: design: Tom

Guy

Davenport

Cunningham

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In 1967 the National Theatre had contracted to perform a translation of Seneca's Oedipus by David Turner, which Sir Laurence Olivier was
going end of to take director. to direct. the over year For various Sir Laurence, reasons, who that project had been with

invited Peter Brook to be guest director at the National Theatre and


the production of Oedipus, Geoffrey Reeves as co

hung fire. ill during

Towards the

the

summer,

Peter Brook had clear ideas about the type of production he wanted, and when he found the translation did not quite suit them he invited
me it. The embarrassments in on another mans of starting adapt in this way will be imagined, and after some tentative false easily was the to zo back to the starts, we for me found forward only way a Victorian Seneca, crib, and so make original eking out my Latin with a new David version translation. Turners of the play was completely to the one that first the National Theatre therefore inspired produce I should Seneca. also like to thank Mr. Turner with for his co-operation in to text version.

new

the change of plan when it was decided that I should make an entirely
From

Peter

an I the work was very much the moment of began, amalgam own and my Later ideas. on, the Brook's, Reeves', Geoffrey a bit to do with had Richard the shape of the Peaslee, composer, quite one. He the second that together, choruses, pieced early especially

were brilliantly solved by Irene Worth (Oedipus).


Our whatever guiding inner

one of the most moments orchestration became of voices which exciting in the certain in their parts In the final stages deadlocks production.

out of something originally near a hundred lines long, to fit a wild (Jocasta) and Sir John Gielgud

and the over-all musical impetus. heightened headlong style of delivery, one or two passages I added to Jocasta's part, and in the choruses ran a course to the original, all but the last?I widely parallel touching it here and there, to the way we suited and in a style the deployed over all the theatre. members Otherwise the text comes of the chorus out of the original, with much T. H. little addition. deletion, closely

of a sacred event. Out of the possibilities of this, Peter Brook drew the whole style of his production, the limited movement of the actors, the

a text that would to make idea from the start was release still has, with the minimum of inter force this situation or movement. in word, detail ference from surface plot, Sophocles* version would not have served the purposes of this production special so well as Seneca's, is less a which than a series of epic nearly play connected and at times rudimentary descriptions by artificial dialogue. as that of the ritualised It is easier to see the form of the Seneca account

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show us show us a simple riddle lift everything show us a childish riddle what has four legs at dawn two legs at noon three legs at dusk and is itweakest when it has most? T.will find the answer is that an answer? show us

aside

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Ted Hughes

327

ACT ONE

CHORUS

but day is reluctant the sun night isfinished out it itself that of cloud up drags filthy
stares down at our sick earth it

not light
beneath plague of dead

brings

gloom

it our streets homes temples gutted with the it's one the new heaps huge plague pit in the spewed up everywhere hardening

sickly daylight
OEDIPUS

and Iwas Polybus as God fear fear

a prince

running away from my father happy freedom not exile unafraid wandering

in heaven

fleeing yes but unaf raid


saw me I stumbled

till I stumbled

on this kingdom

that came after me Delphi Polybus

it followed me the words of the oracle

worse and worse that other what can be worse the oracle pronounced it the words stick it is not but possible

some day Iwould killmy father

Iwould kill him

fathers bedchamber bed fouled my mothers desecrated it the god predicted Iwould marry mother murder father first then this my my who could have stayed there waiting for it I left

the god predicted

die god threatenedme with my

the kingdom

fast

Iwas terrified

not as an outlaw I respected that trusting myself

itwas the high law of nature to guard that determined removed myself

not

Iwas so terrified the most impossible it seemed already to have happened

disaster but the fear

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328

THE OEDIPUSOF SENECA my shadow and it grew into this kingdom till now it surrounds to

came with me this throne

me
darkness

fear

I stand in it

like a blind man in


for me

even now

what

I see that
this plague matter what me why

how could I be mistaken about it

is fate preparing

surely

that lives no slaughtering everything men trees flies no matter it spares what final disaster is it saving me for

of all

the whole nation guttering the last dregs of no order left its life horrible deaths ugly in every doorway every you look path wherever funeral after funeral endless terror and sobbing and in the middle of it all I stand here untouched the man marked down by the god for the worst fate

unsentenced our we lungs scorch gulp for breath but there's no air the heat never moves the sun presses down on us with itswhole the dog star the lion one strength on top of the other a double madness every day closer water has left us the old river courses crack hard greenness has left us grass bleaches and roasts it powders underfoot the corn should be ripe the harvest stands but ruined shrivelled in the ear blasted on the dry straws the river Dirce our strong swift Dirce it has been sealed off its springs dried up it's a bed a of hot stones infernal of string stinking puddles what light there is stifles under this strange fog this hellish strange reek thickening and hanging all day and all night the funeral pyres are stench smoldering of carcasses burning worse stench of unburied carcasses us the stars cannot pierce the rotting through to moon crawls through this fog too close hardly visible heaven's cut off we're buried away here between our walls can escape the plague it fastens on everybody nothing men women children no distinction young old young men in their full strength old diseased men fathers newborn sons the plague heaps everybody together friend and enemy

aman hated and accused by the god

still

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Ted Hughes man and wife burn in the one flame nobody weeps there are no tears left the groans are for the living not the dead screaming is not mourning but torment or terror many die of terror from windows leap for terror fathers gulp down poison stab themselves with roasting eyes stoke their son's bodies in the flames mothers between their stagger to and fro like madwomen children's beds and the flames finally throw themselves mourners into the flames fall down beside the pyres and are thrown into the same flames survivors fight for even even fuel snatching burning sticks from pyres throw their own families on top of other people's fires it's enough if the bones are scorched there isn't wood to turn to ashes there enough everything isn't ground enough to bury what's left and prayers are nurse and doctor go useless is useless medicine into the flames hand that's stretched out to every

329

help

the plague grips it

you high gods let me you decide what watch

I am kneeling have death to men

go on living
every

happens

here at your altar beseeching let me go you great powers you listen to me don't make me country die before I die

in this

living thing inmy

don't keep me here alive to

listen tome you are too far off and too deaf you have am I the one not put too much onto me only you're going to let die I am you are heaping death onto everybody are you me have you asking for death going to refuse set me apart for else something Oedipus get out of this land get away from these cries this unending funeral this air you've poisoned with the curse you drag everywhere get away run as you should have done run yes even back long ago to your parents JOCASTA Oedipus you are the man we rely on you are the the heavier

King

the strength

ifwe have

strength

the threat the stronger we

should find you to

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330

THE OEDIPUS

OF SENECA

an answer bear the threat for every challenge a his hands King cannot sit wringing the gods weeping like a baby wanting reproaching OEDIPUS I have proved my courage often enough JOCASTA that was yesterday it is no use to us
OEDIPUS

to die

today

we need

it

the plague ismore something beneath isworse of it

than enough for any King but it under roots the something and for me alone JOCASTA

the dead are burning and rotting the living are in terror and is this your dying pain what could be worse people
OEDIPUS

the cause

is worse JOCASTA

how can it be for King's fear is a nation's fear a new is alone this riddle you Oedipus
OEDIPUS

and what

if the answer

is our final disaster JOCASTA

when

I carried them for death


I carried what were

I carried my

sons

I carried them for the throne


when

them for final disaster twisting

did I knowwhat was coming


ropes of blood were together

did I know
together

I carried my first son what bloody foot prints

hurrying

inmy body

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Ted Hughes did I know what past and unfinished me were getting flesh again inside were settled before I conceived I knew the thing in my womb I knew was the future was waiting to ask reckonings

331

did I think that the debts of thepast


was going to pay for the whole god past a man
in a cave

for him like a greedy happiness

eater

going

for everything

strength

and

as if no other man existed for pain and for fear for hard sharp metal I carried him for rottenness I carried him but I carried

I carried him for this for the cruelty

finally life

of other men and his own cruelty

for disease and to pieces dropping I knew for death bones dust him not only for this I carried him

to be king of

this

blind blood blood frommy gums and eyelids


blood from the roots of my hair blood it flowed into the knot of his bowels the knot of his brain tied everything my womb together

and my blood didn't pause didn't hesitate inmy womb the futility considering it didn't falter reckoning into him blood from my

it the odds poured toes my finger ends

on

any time began into the knot of his muscles every corner of the earth and the heavens

from before

and every trickle of the dead past twisted it all into shape inside me what was he what wasn't he the question was unasked and what was I what cauldron was I what doorway was I what cavemouth what spread my legs and lifted my knees was he to hide squeezing was I to escape running the strength of the whole earth pushed him through my body and out

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33^

THE OEDIPUS

OF SENECA

a screaming mouth a was it question asking he was a king's son he was aman's shape he was perfect some not something monstrous accident of wrong repulsive limbs and jumbled organs not some freakish half-living blood clot his eyes were perfect feet perfect fingers perfect he lay there in the huge darkness like a new bright weapon he was the warrant of the gods he was their latest attempt to walk on the earth and to Uve he only had to live and what if at that moment after all that

was Imyself a bag of blood

it split me open and I saw the blood

but was he a bag of death

jump

out after him

a doubt had turned him back

OEDIPUS

have I turned back whatever there is that frightens men in terror can come whatever this world pain and death shape me it cannot turn me back in not even Fate frightens not even the sphinx twisting me up in her twisted words she did not frighten me she straddled her rock her nest of smashed skulls and bones her face was a gulf her she jerked her wings up and gaze paralysed her victims that tail whipping and writhing she lashed herself she bunched herself up convulsed started to tremble like a fit jaws clashing together biting the air yet I stood there and I asked for the riddle Iwas calm her talons gouged splinters up off the rock saliva poured from her fangs she screamed her whole body shuddering the words came slowly the riddle that monster's justice a which was a death sentence trap of forked meanings a noose of knotted words I undid it I yet I took it solved it that was praying the time to die all this frenzy now for death it's too late Oedipus this

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Ted Hughes JOCASTA you wear the crown which was your prize the sceptre's your prize that birdwoman

333

for killing

OEDIPUS

as if I'd never solved her riddle yet she's not dead I drove her off the rock she changed she never died rottenness is flying but her and the questions stopped her stench is a fog smothering us as ifwe were living inside her carcass there's one hope left the oracle CHORUS Thebes-you are finished! us can the god direct

farmers all dead. The The countryside around is empty?the workers all dead. Their children all dead. The plague owns everything. those brave men of under the finished. gone yours?they've plague?they're They so marched the last frontiers bravely away out?eastward?past rim?leaned victory after victory?right away on to the world's their banners tibe sun's face?the very conquerors? against where are ran from them?the rich nations of the they? Everybody rivers ran? ?the marksmen of the hills?the horsemen?everybody towns are not any more, Thebes. Where empty?scattered away?but What's happened to your armies, Thebes? All armies now, Thebes? They're finished. The plague your touched them

and they vanished. Look They're Thebes

Finished.

Rubbished are

into earth. doing?

at the streets?what

Black pro cessions: to a the and the is fires. Thebes funeral. graves going is choking with corpses. Why don't the crowds move?

the crowds

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334

THE OEDIPUS

OF SENECA

are too many burn corpses

corpses.

Graves The

can't be dug earth's glutted.

fast enough. Death's

There Fire
can't

fast enough. rot.

glutted.

And

the piles of corpses The was plague suddenly

began with poison.

the sheep.

It began with suddenly stench.

the grass. The grass had hoisted his


axe,

The air was

A bull steadied

at the altar?massive his aim?in it touched

animal. The priest before

that second,

the axe fell?the

bull
was

down. Was I saw a heifer

was by the god? It Her body was

touched by the plague. a sackful of tar? filthy

filthy bubbling tar.

slaughtered.

cattle are dead in the fields, dead in their stalls. On Everywhere silent farms there are bones in cloaks, skulls on pillows. Every ditch stinks death. The heat stinks. The silence stinks. A horseman it caught coming breakneck past us?but over the plague caught him up? tilt? heels?full
down.

his horse?mid-stride?head it.

The rider beneath Everything ?they're iswhite?it Where are

green has withered dusty ridges?deserts you

up. The hills of brittle touch it. hate gods

that were sticks.

cool with forest The vine's tendril run

crumbles when the gods? The

gods The

us. The are dead

gods

have

away. The gods have hidden and stink too. There There's never were something any gods?there's wrong with only death. light seems to bulge and in holes. of the plague? they rot

the sun?the

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Ted Hughes waver ?it's walls. Last as if it were a skin ready to split and

335

tear. Death has sickened rooms. Whis in its dead up. Sobbing empty spewing in perings in my own doorway. There's only death. I met myself night the earth shook?it turned wells like a man waking?it heaved like blood. In the
mountains,

deep water cliffs dropped Thebes A death

in a harbour?the away. I saw my

filled with

own dead body

in the gutter.

is a land of death. worse than death. Limbs suddenly go numb, head to begins

and swells. You pound. Your face flushes?puffs a come ears are into go stupor. Eyes bulging out, ringing?the come stabs and burns? gangrenous up. Every lump lumps It's a fire Ut on your belly, a fire under your chest. Clots of blood come into your mouth, strings of black blood dangle from your to wall. nostrils. You pitch from wall shatter you. Coughs Anything Crowds crying to be cooled?hug stones?fling yourself Burning. in the river

pools. are at every altar?crowds shivering and groaning? for death. Praying for death. Shouting for death.

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336

THE OEDIPUSOF SENECA

ACT TWO

OEDIPUS who is this coming no is it Creon so sight hurridly towards can be trusted CHORUS it is Creon has he brought this is the man we the answer are waiting for the palace

OEDIPUS now Creon I shall know my fate for what it is

nearest to the throne in blood the can the oracle tell us has been long waiting us what is its answer help CREON not the god at Delphi does speak simply reveals he conceals
OEDIPUS

as he

help hidden
answer

from us is no

help

what

is the god's

CREON

difficult

to fathom

tangle
OEDIPUS

a riddle

tell us what it is Oedipus

if it'sariddle it is for

CREON

this iswhat the god says

themurder of King

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Ted Hughes Laius must be atoned for the murderer must be

337

banished
then shall we

King Laius must be avenged

not until

and the plague finished

see the sun clear and the air pure OEDIPUS

who was the King's murderer his throne ismy it is for me to throne and his queen my queen ask Laius who murdered whom does King he will pay the penalty CREON

the god
name

if it is safe if the god will letme Iwill tell what happened What Iwent through there atDelphi
it has altered me I did not know what I feel it now as I speak the shrine you know terror was

you know

the rites

I did

of snowmuttered
was

to the my hands raised in supplication reverently god as I did so the air and the mountain shook and the two peaks of parnassus rumbled like anger avalanches

I preparedmyself purified everything prescribed and humbled my thoughts I stepped into the shrine

themountain had stirred

there

a silence then the god's grove of laurel trees shook drew a deep sudden breath a hiss of leaves a from one end to the other the sacred rushing the spring castalia died back among its wet stones she began priestess of the god was going ahead of me to undo her hair and toss it loose was suddenly she from head to foot lashing her hair this way writhing itwas the and that before god twisting inside her she could reach the cave there came a a crack glare and I was a thunderbolt thought it directly upon us louder than a man can imagine but itwas a voice Good stars shall come again to the Thebes of Cadmus only when that regicide known to the god now and from infancy no longer pollutes Dirce the lovely river murderer you crept back into your mother's benighted womb

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33^

THE OEDIPUSOF SENECA


OEDIPUS

it is awarning from the god the burial honours for the dead King's remains they were the neglected succession was left open throne unclaimed the sceptre am I now to for do what any usurper empty you going

failed to do then

man

you all feared hhn

kings must protect kingship


he dies
CREON

this

he's forgotten

we did not forget

terror

stupefied
OEDIPUS

us

what

terror could prevent

you mourning CREON

King

stupefied

terror of the sphinx us

and her threats

her riddle

OEDIPUS

the movers the guides the lawgivers are demanding expiation for this murder the King of Thebes where Laius

are above vengeance is the man

they for

you who choose kings from among men you great gods come down and and set them up and keep them in power hear these words you who made this whole Universe and the laws we have to live and die in hear me and you watcher who look after the great burning seasons on this earth who and blood its strength sap give and you who govern who pace out the centuries and you darkness muscle of the earth who move and speak in the winds and inwater and you who the dead be with me now hear these words I manage now speak let no walls hold peace for the man whose hands killed he goes let him be luckless wherever King Laius

hounded by every evil let his genius unprotected let every land reject him desert him let himmarry in shame lethis children be born in shame let his

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Ted Hughes a a rack of shame and let bed be a torture pit and as he him deal as bloodily with his own father

339

dealt with Laius

let him suffer to the last

and nothing could be worse than wrench everything I have escaped for that this that everything man no exists forgiveness longer sea you who guard my homeland by the power of the

on every side rule

you voice of the oracle

by you highest god of the light beams


by the kingdom which I now

an oath let my father live to enjoy his old age and his throne in peace let my mother never marry if I to dig out this husband fail other any only his living body tell it again did it happen

by the gods of thehome I left

Imake

criminal only if I fail to tear the full penalty out of


only where if I fail to avenge Laius did the murder happen open combat treachery
CREON

how tell it

a hard to the oracle the King was going to Delphi road broken country at a certain three ways point the road forks Laius before lay he expected a pleasant journey at the cross but there through friendly people in the thick of the scrub forest roads bandits an awkward met him the place trapped between saw the dense thickets nobody fight just as we need him here is Tiresias
the oracle's roused him

OEDIPUS

Tiresias the god's chosen mouth seem to demand of the oracle they name him
TIRESIAS

explain the words the life of aman

if I am slow to speakOedipus
patient a blind man misses

if I ask for time


much

be

the god's servant

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340

THE OEDIPUS

OF SENECA

I am here to search this thing my country's servant to the bottom when Iwas came down into me young when my blood was hot the god we must look at the omens own words a pure white bull also the to altars bring a heifer that has never been yoked MANTO they are here
TIRESIAS

intomy body he spoke directly out ofmy mouth

inhis

I need more help yet you must guide me my daughter as we sacrifice these beasts you describe this too the describe every token tome signs MANTO the victims are perfect and prepared TIRESIAS now recite the prayers burn the incense summon the holy presences

in

MANTO I have piled the incense on the hearth


TIRESIAS

of the altar

now describe the flames how does it eat

you have

fed the fire

but

manto

it flared up tall and fierce to nothing back

then suddenly died

TIRESIAS

did the flame

did itpoint cleanly straight up

stand up clear

what was

its colour

like a blade

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Ted Hughes or was it broken crooked in any way it or in any way describe smoky MANTO itwas every colour together all twisting changed a full rainbow but clouded not easy together dark and purplish to to say what was not there it was it ragged

341

begin with

flecked with yellows


till itwas

it reached up
red

and shook turning red

all blood

suddenly itblackened and guttered


TIRESIAS

now

look

describe

everything
MANTO

it's splitting into the flame is climbing up again two horns itself father the wine from splitting we it it's for the is blood become libations poured

blood

what does itmean the smoke oily heavy smoke is reaching out towards the King it is and looping

the altarfire isbelching black smoke

thickening round theKing's head


face out now it

it'sblotted the

King's over covering everything a not moving canopy does itmean

it's spreading spreads blackish everything hanging it'smade a what gloom


TIRESIAS

voices voice against voice fighting voices voices are tearing me voices but not words nothing is steady this is impossible to hold whirling terrible hidden when the gods something something are enraged they speak out clearly you hear them but now they can't speak clearly they are trying to drag into the light something too horrible for are ashamed of the light what is they something it put the salt meal quickly offer them the animals on their necks are how do they take they calm describe them your touching everything

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34^

THE OEDIPUS

OF SENECA

MANTO the bull tosses his head he's frightened he seems afraid of the sun he keeps wheeling his head away from the sun he's shining with sweat and shivering TIRESIAS

do they go down at the first stroke


MANTO

the heifer surged with her whole weight against the a blade and stab she's down not the bull single the bull's lurching about the sword's gone in twice but he's still up to the full depth staggering about hither and thither trying to get he's down he heaves shudders a little away now he's still
TIRESIAS

what about the blood

tell about the blood


or does

does
it ooze

the blood spout from the wounds reluctant to come out MANTO

the heifer's blood is coming in a river the bull's are as wounds big but they're bloodless they're instead blood's just holes ripped in the red meat black bursting from his eyes and out of his mouth torrents is it his black of blood lumpy
TIRESIAS

this sacrifice is evil my whole body freezes as I listen to you but go deeper lift out the entrails describe all that you see
MANTO

no membrane iswrong to contain the entrails something and the intestines quake father what can this mean

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Ted Hughes a little but these are twisting usually they quiver look how they shake my arm as if they had shuddering much of much seems to be missing separate life the heart ismissing no here is the the intestines

343

heart shrivelledwithered up diseased black buried

down here far from its natural position what does it mean father is reversed the lungs are everything over to the far here with blood squeezed right gorged how did they breathe the liver is rotten breaks inmy

hand oozing black bitter gall

look

this liver is

the left wing swollen twice its proper double-headed size knotted with great veins the right wing is but the finger of it deathly white fungus rotten is enormous stiff black with blood that is a fatal
omen

every position iswrong how did nature survive in this what is this thick lump here deep down here a foetus an unborn calf this father?horrible heifer was never mated but here is a calf and how

did thewomb get here


jerking for life is everywhere the bull is getting carcass is getting hooks priests it that noise altar fire the

it's groaning

the calf s kicking inside thebag


inside the bag blood

a disembowelled and the heifer up it at the up onto its legs lunges with its horns entrails dragging after is the fire that is the bellowing altar itself is bellowing JOCASTA

what does all this

this sacrifice mean

what

is hidden

under

OEDIPUS

my ear is not afraid of speak plainly tome Tiresias the truth whatever it is when the worst is certain men become calm
TIRESIAS

you shall live to envy this torment Oedipus

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344

THE OEDIPUS

OF SENECA

OEDIPUS one the gods are trying to make me understand thing tell me that one who murdered Laius thing King
TIRESIAS

birds far up in the depths of the sky organs pulled alive from deep in the bodies of animals how bleeding can such things out a name for the name Oedipus spell we need other methods for the name we need the dead must be out of that darkness Laius must brought back name the murderer himself we must open the earth have talk with death open the ears of the dead open their mouths a it cannot be Oedipus who performs this yourself King's are must this world for be well clear of eyes they kept the fouling shadows of that other world
OEDIPUS

King himself

Laius himself dead beneath the earth he

Creon

second

in line to the throne TIRESIAS

this is for you

while we reach into death and call out the dead men let them sing against the dead sing
CHORUS TO BACCHUS

let the

OOO?AI?EE.KA

(3 times) (3 times) DANCE DEATH INTO ITSHOLE DANCE DEATH INTO ITSHOLE INTO ITSHOLE ITSHOLE ITSHOLE ITSHOLE HOLE LET IT CLIMB

CHANT REPLY

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345

LET IT CLIMB UP LET IT CLIMB UP LET IT CLIMB LET IT LIVE OPEN THE GATE OPEN THE GATE LET IT LIVE TEAR THE BLOOD OPEN ITSMOUTH LET IT CRY WHILE THE WIND CROSSES THE STONES WHILE THE STARSTURN WHILE THE MOON TURNS WHILE THE SEA TURNS WHILE THE SUN STANDS AT THE DOORWAY YOU YOU YOU YOU UNDER THE YOU UNDER THE UNDER THE LEAF YOU UNDER THE STONE YOU UNDERTHESEA YOU UNDERBLOOD UNDER THE EARTH YOU UNDER THE LEAF UNDERTHE STONE UNDER BLOOD UNDER THE SEA UNDER THE EARTH YOU YOU YOU YOU YOU YOU

(2 times)

(repeat)

YOU YOU

UNDER BLOOD UNDER THE EARTH YOU

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346

THE OEDIPUSOF SENECA

ACT THREE

OEDIPUS in your face Creon I see only horror whose life do the gods demand from us this whole dying city is to hear you waiting CREON you want me to speak fear forbids me
OEDIPUS

to speak

when Thebes is down this royal house your own house I command you to down speak CREON you command me to speak you will
OEDIPUS

is

pray

you were

deaf

ignorance speak

cures nothing you can cure it

this whole

nation

is sick

CREON the cure can be so drastic men


OEDIPUS

prefer

the sickness

when torture has crushed you will you fear the anger of the crown when will you speak CREON crowns have been crushed by the words
OEDIPUS

of the tortured

you shall go back

to the underworld

in your own

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Ted Hughes blood like the cattle a cheap sacrifice tell us what these rites have revealed CREON a King cannot grant a man less than his silence
OEDIPUS

347

unless you

the silence the speech

in a kingdom

can be deadlier

than

CREON

if silence is forbidden

freedom isfinished
OEDIPUS

power

to command

finished

the throne

is finished

the kingdom finished


CREON

prepare

yourself

Oedipus

at the source of the river Dirce

over the whole wood gigantic cypress reaching out a an oak shadow huge imprisoning everything tree ancient and massive has died there laurels all for the myrtles and alders struggling light but the place in belongs to the cypress right a its roots wells among up spring freezingly it is almost dark in there cold underfoot quagmire a stinking slime as soon as the old he priest arrived he started didn't need to wait for the in that night gloom they a trench into that they threw dug burning wood the priest begins brought from the funeral pyres tomake movements with sprays broken from the cypress to and fro black robe trailing behind twisted black yew twigs round his head and white hair oxen are and sheep and black dragged backwards toppled alive into the burning trench the does bellowing not last long flames leap up smoke and the stench

is a clump of black hollies

in the thickof it a

in a narrow valley

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34$

TOE OEDIPUSOF SENECA

the priest begins to call up the things of the he calls to death itself over and over underworld into an ecstasy face contorted himself foam working he argues with round his mouth the dead thickening screams mutters he cajoles and threatens sings now more blood onto the altars and whispers more the trench living animals into the flames new blood too milk and wine with swamped and that left his hand incantation from poured over and over bowed to the ground stamping voice the dead up convulsed not human any more bringing then we felt the ground shaking we felt the earth lift under us and the wood shook suddenly dogs were a hellish itwas of baying belling dogs shaking the and Tiresias was shouting "they earth coming up are have heard I have opened death they Coming" trees dust and rained down great twigs split from as the earth top to bottom and lifted their roots began to tear open I saw things in the darkness many moving I saw dark rivers and pale masks lifted and sinking I saw writhing marshes things I could hear human voices and the screeching and that were never on earth I heard laughing of mouths on earth than sobbing deeper anything I saw every disease I knew their faces I heard them I saw every torment every and knew their voices injury and shadows like flames horror every spinning sickening forms faces mouths towards us reaching up clutching and crying on a from every orifice grinning up sliding mountain of corpses the roaring of dogs' voices screams jabbering as if the groans indescribable laughter all erupting is earth were crammed, splitting with it Manto to the old man's miracles but she stood accustomed us could move petrified too none of only Tiresias seemed in control of himself but he could see none of

now

of burning flesh fill thewood

I saw theplague of this city

bloated

blood oozing

it

the ghosts

he carried straight on

he began to call for

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Ted Hughes a a and they came growing sound humming like a vast flock seemed to silence everything of autumn starlings a wind of rushing gloomy back and round and round in the pit grabbing at the earth the tree roots at our clothes all crying in their thin bodiless voices till at last one of faced pressed this creature that

349

twitterings

beating up at the light

swirling

them laidhold of the roots and clung there


into the earth commanding it Tiresias called to come up our

his
to again and

again he called and at last it looked up


its face and I recognised Laius

it lifted

Laius itwas him he pulled himself up his whole body was plastered with blood his hair
beard face aU one terrible wound a mash of

King

mud brains blood

he tongue inside it began to move and quiver began to speak 'you insane family of Cadmus each other you will never stop slaughtering finish it now children with your own your rip hands put an end to your blood now because worse is coming an evil too detestable on to name is squatting

hismouth lay open and the

the throne

of

Thebes

but it isn't the gods my country rots a son and a mother it is this a son and a mother knotted and twisted together a of bodies coupling vipers twisting together blood flowing back together ?i the one sewer it isn't the wind fevers from the south or your the drought and its dried-out earth scorching dust those things are innocent it is your King blinded in the wrong that got him his throne blinded to his own origins, blind to the fixed gods the loathed son of that same queen who now swells under him worse the Queen than him the Queen yes her womb that chamber of hell which began it all he pushed his way back there where he began than an animal he buried his head in there there

and worse

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350

E OEDIPUS

OF SENECA

and brought new where he first came screaming out brothers for himself out of his own mother's body a bloodier of evil horrible tentacles tangle than his own sphinx that sceptre which does not belong you clutching I am the man you murdered to you for it your but 111 bring a bridesmaid f ather still not avenged a to your marriage fury to bind you and your mother I shall start your sons butchering each other city infernal lineage out by the roots I shall rip your whole men of Thebes drive get rid of this monster no matter where him him away let go quickly only then let him take that deadly shadow of his elsewhere and the roots will revive your streams will recover a pure and blossom come again and the fruit swell

togetherwith awhiplash

I shall disembowel your

airwill sweep through the land


the deathpains to get away fast

will all follow his footsteps


hell want

pestilence

the horror

and the grief the


the death

they

but I shall stophim and shackle his feet

I shallblock his path I shall break his heart


over darkened

he'll
roads suddenly

go away from you groping an old man

Thebes take the earth from him light"


OEDIPUS

his fatherwill take the

in this world the thing I most dreaded I'm this thing I've run from and accused of having done it hidden from and guarded myself against the thought of it horror of itwith me every second to dreading sleep afraid of the dreams of it waking shouting from the I'm finally accused of having done it of it nightmare is still the wife of Polybus my father Merope my mother what ismy crime there is alive and strong him how have Imurdered Polybus are there both them what of my parents happy together have I done wrong and Laius he was dead long before I came here

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Ted Hughes

351

I only came here because he was dead because I had killed that iswhat won me the kingdom that riddling monster were this empty throne the widow queen waiting they to be won Iwon them or is it is this old priest tome something lying the this is a plot whole country supernatural maddening a is it this surely plot priest and the gods and the dead and the rest they're

all part of the trick


hand the sceptre

and the end of thiswill be to


Creon
CREON

to you

would I drive my sister off the throne I am happy with what I have and ifmy blood loyalty weren't enough a to keep me as I am Iwill tell you king's position me it terrifies me that lonely height appalls crown down to still time that have Oedipus you lay now while it is safe don't wait to be quietly now are while crushed by it still free go you to find some place less elevated safer
OEDIPUS

you urge me

to abandon

the throne
CREON

any man

urge him the same you Oedipus to choose you can do longer free nothing else
OEDIPUS

free to choose

Iwould

but you are no

that is the right mask for ambition who missed the throne
CREON

the right mask

for one

me let these long years of loyalty argue for


OEDIPUS

the

a traitor has a purpose loyalty of

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352

THE OEDIPUS

OF SENECA

CREON what could Iwant I have every advantage of a king none of a house

backbrealdng load
dawns but it brings

the noblest of the city crowd tomy


in some overwhelming

king's

me for their safety


I am envied enough

their food
what could

the very clothes they


Iwant more

not a day an army of gift thank dependents stand in

OEDIPUS what you haven t yet got CREON convicted without defence OEDIPUS who rules when I go CREON what if I am innocent OEDIPUS this man is guilty take him to the prison in the rock guard him
CHORUS

the gods hate Thebes they have always detested Cadmus began it Cadmus killed a god's serpent

the gods are punishing this city us they will not spare Thebes

what jumped out of the furrows a maniac army an army of madmen each started other butchering they

he sowed its fangs in a ploughed field

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Ted Hughes and that was gods hate the beginning of this noble city which the

353

to Thebes the gods sent Oedipus was their answer Oedipus

dragging theplague as he dragged his foot

now he comes under the curse of Thebes like Actaeon before him the hunter who looked too close at the wrong woman at the forbidden peered through the leaves body of the woman own hounds turned in the pool Actaeon's against as the him gods have turned against us deaf to his voice they turned against him and he ran from the their eyes had changed yelling of his own hounds he ran as a dumb stag driven like a stag in a circle sick with the terrors of a stag bowels emptying and heart broken till he saw in that same lungs torn and blood in his mouth

pool

of blood
Oedipus

he was a stag and he was dragged down as a stag torn to pieces as a stag in a ring of his own blood-covered hounds the pool where the woman had lifted her was a wallow thigh a black hole of hounds rending the curse of Thebes

has come under

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354

THE OEDIPUSOF SENECA

ACT FOUR

OEDIPUS

before
have I been

itwas fear
trapped

but now

is it certainty

how

I killed Laius

the voice of the oracle accuses me his own ghost points at me and accuses me me but my conscience acquits I know myself Laius

betterthananyghost
is nowhere

m my conscience

better than the god atDelphi knowsme


something

Laius murdered

if I could remember two strangers both

if I could go back
two men only

together long ago I see it I see myself shoved to the roadside shoved into the thorns me the horses driven straight at me to trample to go over me with the wheels the lathered horses that arrogant screaming old man and the driver shouting trying to run me down with the chariot itwas one half self-defence what I did I put my spear into the driver and he fell out backwards as the chariot man slashed at me with his sword the old passed I drove the spear through him and he fell between the horses ran on and they dragged him tangled in the reins under the chariot as itwas all done in a moment me they passed a a time ago at a crossroads way away long long JOCASTA

leave the dead alone Oedipus stop these diggings into the past bringingmy dead husband
back to show his wounds and

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Ted Hughes

355

what can come out hell cannot be opened safely more misfortune more confusion more and of it only pain and more death OEDIPUS

show himself still indeath agony

leave him alone

was

Jocasta
he

tellme this

when Laius died

how old

JOCASTA at the end of middle age OEDIPUS on that last ride how many rode with him

JOCASTA but the roads to Delphi are broken many set out and Laius was a hard traveller the country difficult OEDIPUS how many stayed with him JOCASTA he outstripped them all he went
OEDIPUS

ahead alone

the King was

alone JOCASTA

when he arrived at the crossroads the driver of his chariot

he was alone

with

OEDIPUS the driver was also killed

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356

THE OEDIPUSOF SENECA

JOCASTA the driver fell there at the crossroads the horses dragged the body of Laius on towards Delphi were found saw the so they nobody fight OEDIPUS there is no escaping this when did it happen

JOCASTA let it lie Oedipus Imake adjusted it happened can alter what has happened that death was waiting for no man

no secret of it to you the balance when

Laius

he fell to the earth

he owed me

fate only a life

I bore him a boy and before my milk had entered its mouth he snatched it away never things I have spoken a crime I shall not were tangled in those dig up reins that dragged his dead body away from the crossroads aman of stone broken by stones

forget him Oedipus


the oracle strength

finishwith riddles
in that darkness

only

burrowing can save us

cannot

forget

save us

OEDIPUS

when was Laius killed

how long ago


JOCASTA

this is the tenth summer


MESSENGER

the men Polybus

of Corinth call you to your father's has gone to his last rest OEDIPUS

throne

how did my father die

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Ted Hughes
MESSENGER

357

asleep

smiling

in peace
OEDIPUS

my father

is dead

without

hurt

from any man

no

murder can raise to innocent I witness them the hands my light my hands cannot be accused the worse half of my destiny the but something is left half I fear most that still remains
MESSENGER

in your father's kingdom

you need
OEDIPUS

fear nothing

me from one only running thing keeps strength


MESSENGER

towards

itwith

all my

what

is that Oedipus OEDIPUS

my mother MESSENGER your mother


come

why

fear her

she is

longing

for you to

impatient

for you to come


OEDIPUS

her love iswhat

I fear
MESSENGER

can you leave her a widow


OEDIPUS

your words

go too deep

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358

THE OEDIPUSOF SENECA MESSENGER

what

is tormenting you what is your secret tell me me before even with their have trusted Kings greatest secrets OEDIPUS long ago the oracle told me this: I shall marry my mother MESSENGER then you can forget the oracle this fear is unreal your are was never your mother empty Merope speculations
OEDIPUS

why

should

the King

of Corinth

adopt

stranger

MESSENGER an heir to the throne forestalls many OEDIPUS who shared such a secret with you troubles

MESSENGER itwas these hands these very hands when you were a

whimpering baby

these

handed you toMerope

OEDIPUS

you gave me to my mother gave me to you

then where

did I begin

who

MESSENGER a shepherd on mount Cithaeron OEDIPUS how did you come to be on that mountain MESSENGER

with my flock

Iwas also a shepherd

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Ted Hughes
OEDIPUS

359

there's a strange mark on my body

what

do you know about it

MESSENGER

to and hobble cripple through your heels to die infected meant the wounds were and that scar must and so you are called Oedipus swollen be still on your feet sharp iron hooked you you were
OEDIPUS

who

gave me

to you

tell me

that

JOCASTA the dead man will never be listen to my warning Oedipus not until you are dead and under the satisfied ground to with him the dead hate the living they only want turn your eyes towards the murder the living living give darkness is too deep you will never your strength to us see to the bottom of it the dead will rob you of everything CHORUS

listen to theQueen Oedipus


OEDIPUS

who

gave me

to you
MESSENGER

the master

of the King's flocks


OEDIPUS

what

was

the man's

name

MESSENGER

I am old

thatwas long ago

ithas been too long buried

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360

THE OEDIPUS

OF SENECA

OEDIPUS

his face

could you recognise

that

MESSENGER

perhaps

OEDIPUS

let them drive all theirbeasts call in the shepherds head shepherds bring the to the altars bring
them to me here JOCASTA Oedipus listen to your wife CHORUS listen to her Oedipus JOCASTA the truth is not human it has no mercy why rush into the mouth of it you have a kingdom to protect
OEDIPUS

I am enmeshed

in amystery

worse

than any death

CHORUS you want to satisfy yourself?but your people will have to to it is not chance that have will your Queen pay pay leave things as hides these things and keeps them hidden are do not let fate unfold at its leisure they force it
OEDIPUS

if itwere endurable all warn me back

I would endure it what is the truth CHORUS

why

do you

you were born to the throne look any deeper Oedipus

isn't that enough

don't

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Ted Hughes
OEDIPUS

361

what blood am I
here

I shall find it out

whatever itmeans

is Phorbas this ancient man was once master of the Phorbas do you remember the name King's flocks the face do you remember
MESSENGER

I have seen that face before the man is familiar in the days of King Laius did your flocks graze Mount Cithaeron
PHORBAS

the rich grass of lovely Cithaeron we were there every pasture

that was our summer summer

MESSENGER

do you recognise me
OEDIPUS

that you handed to this man do you remember a baby a boy one on the iron day long ago slope of Mount Cithaeron was twisted were meant ankles his to you through for the wild beasts expose him on the mountain I see your face you are searching for words change too carefully
PHORBAS

you are digging

too deep
OEDIPUS

the truth is as it is

let it come out as it is


PHORBAS

it is all too long ago


OEDEPUS

speak

or I shall torture you till you speak

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362

THE OEDIPUS

OF SENECA

PHORBAS on a boy I handed this man a crippled baby yes day long ago it could never have itwas hopeless we were too late

lived

OEDIPUS why could it never have lived PHORBAS that iron through its feet those cruel wires that knot of

filthy iron festering

thewound was putrid burning


OEDIPUS

it stank

thewhole body

child

it's enough

who was it
PHORBAS

my

fate has found me

at last

who was

this

I swore never

to

speak OEDEPUS

I shall burn that oath out of you


PHORBAS

will

you destroy

a man

for one little fact

OEDIPUS

I am not amadman child you are who was itsmother

you only need to speak the only man who knows

who was that its who was father

PHORBAS

its mother

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Ted Hughes OEDEPUS who was its mother PHORBAS itsmother was your wife OEDEPUS

363

birth

birthbed

blood

take this

open the earth bury


I am not puta

under everything it bottom of the darkness now Thebans your stones fit for the light on me hack me to pieces mountain on me make blame me pile the plague fires me where I know me ashes finish me put

nothing

I am the
cancer

plague

I am the monster Creon saw in hell


and in your blood

I am the

I should have died in thewomb drowned inmy mother's blood before anything Oedipus

at the roots of this city

and in the air

inside there suffocated come out dead thatfirst day

now I need that wait wait something to fit strength out root it and the of this error something drag up for me alone first I shall go to the palace quickly seek out my mother and present her with her son my mother CHORUS see me on if only our fate were ours to choose you would a full sail but a are the airs waters where quiet gentle no more than a breath that is easy voyage light wind no blast no smashed no best into downwind rigging flogging no under surge cliffs in nothing recovered vanishing
mid-ocean

a neither under cliffs nor too far out give me quiet voyage on the black water where the the middle course depth opens on is the safe one to a calm end the only life easily surrounded by gains

foolish Icarus

he thought he could fly

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364

THE OEDIPUS

OF SENECA

it was a dream tried to crawl across the stars his crazy paraphernalia loaded with his crazy dream the wings the wax and the feathers up and up and up saw his enormous shadow on the saw eagles beneath him clouds beneath him met the sun face to face

fell
was wiser he flew lower his father Daedalus in the shadow of the clouds he kept under clouds the same crazy equipment but the dream different till Icarus dropped past him, out of the belly of a cloud past him down through emptiness a cry dwindling a tiny in the middle splash

of the vast sea

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Ted Hughes

365

ACT FIVE

CHORUS it is one of the who is that beating king's slaves his head with his fists what something has happened

has

happened

tell us

SLAVE

when

Oedipus grasped his fate where he had lost himself wrong now he's condemned himself

and saw the full depth of the oracle he understood

he hurried straight back to the palace a his stride was savage and heavy, like beast purposeful never paused went in under that terrible roof face deathly he was groaning he was a crazed beast he was muttering a wounded

like

lion

that's going to die killing his eyes bulged demented

blazing with all that torment


inside him

mad grimaces his face kept wrenching sweat on his and neck poured temples froth stood round his mouth his hands kept gripping at his stomach he was trying to tear himself open to gouge out the bowels and liver and heart

the whole mass

of

he was toiling for something some action something unthinkable something to answer all that has happened he began to shout "why delay it I should be stabbed smashed under a rock I should be burned alive there should be animals me to ripping pieces tigers eagles ripping me with their hooks

asony

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366

THE OEDIPUSOF SENECA

you mountain it carcass all it's your you began slopes should have had my it's your wild dogs should have cracked my riddles for me where are your wolves and that woman who wrenched her husband's head off on your Cithaeron

wrenched it off and ranwith it


why be afraid of death keep aman it's

send her
am I afraid

lovely grass

Agave

death
can

it's only death


innocent"

nothing

then he pulled out his sword and he was going to kill himself but he stopped he began to reason a few seconds of death in "one little jab of pain my eyes and in my mouth can that pay for a lifetime like mine can one stroke cut all my debts off one death that's for your father that's good but what about your mother and what about that doubled blood in your children what about their shame what about Thebes all the dead all those living with their deaths on them they are doing your penance for you Oedipus and you cannot pay you cannot possibly pay

not in this lifetime

suffer for you need to be born again again everything over and over and die again lifetime after lifetime every lifetime a new sentence and length of penalties think death

think this death has to last has to be slow find a death some death find a death that can still feel
a life in death and go on feeling are you why hesitating Oedipus" a death among the living torment

can come only once

shouted eyeballs

suddenly itwas sobbing


"is weeping too

suddenly

he began

to weep

give anymore

let them go with their tears


out

all I can give

it shook hiswhole body and he


can't my is this enough

everything

that had been eyes

let them go
for you

everything

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Ted Hughes you frozen gods of marriage eyes enough" he was raging as he spoke is it sufficient are my dark red

367

his face throbbed

his eyeballs seemed to be jumping in their sockets


out from the skull

forced

Oedipus

contorted

his face was no longer the face of

a to scream bellowing his throat tearing

like a rabid dog


anger

he had begun
agony

animal

his hands his fingers had stabbed deep intohis eyesockets and he the hooked twisting tugged gripped eyeballs and he till they gave way dragging with all his strength his fingers dug back intohis sockets flung them from him
insane with he was gibbering and moaning he could not stop his nails with his fury against himself gouging, scrabbling in those huge holes in his face the terrors of the light are finished for Oedipus he lifted his face with its raw horrible gaps he tested the darkness there were rags of flesh, strings and nerve ends

still trailing over his cheeks he fumbled for them last shred them off every snapping
then he let out a roar half screamed

"you gods now will you I've I've and I've

stop torturing my country I've punished and look found the murderer forced him to pay the debt his marriage?I've found the darkness for it found it the night it deserves"

him

as he was screaming his face seemed to blacken suddenly the blood vessels had burst inside his torn eyepits the blood came spewing out over his face and beard in a moment he was drenched
CHORUS

fate is the master of eveiything it is vain to fight to the end the road is fate the from against beginning laid down worries are futile human scheming is futile prayers are futile sometimes a man wins sometimes he loses who decides whether he loses or wins?

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368

THE OEDIPUSOF SENECA long ago elsewhere

it has all been decided

not a single man can alter it all he can do is let it happen that seems to toss our days up and down everything it is all there from the first moment it is all there in the knotted mesh of causes tangled to itself helpless change even the great god lies there entangled causes helpless in the mesh of and the last day lies there tangled with the first a man's life is a like a maze pattern on the floor it is all fixed in the pattern he wanders no prayer can alter it or to escape it help him nothing then fear can be the end of him a man's fear of his fate is often his fate

it is destiny

the good luck the bad luck everything that happens

leaping to avoid it

he meets it
OEDEPUS

all iswell I have corrected all the mistakes was owed father has been my payed what he

and

he's given me this dark veil for my head that awful eye the that never let me pleasant light rest and followed me everywhere peering through every at last you've it crack you haven't driven it escaped away you haven't killed that as you killed your father it's abandoned you left you to yourself simply it's left you to your new face the true face of Oedipus that I did
CHORUS

I Eke this darkness Iwonder which god it is that I've of them has forgivenme for all which finally pleased

look frantic going Jocasta coming out of the palace out of her mind look at Jocasta look at her she's staring at her son why has she stopped knows what's happening darkness is nearly swamping her

she hardly

there he stands

blasted

his blind mask turned to the sky

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Ted Hughes

369

to speak

she's afraid of him she's stepping

she comes towards him

she wants closer her grief stronger

than everything

JOCASTA what can I call you now what shall I call you? you're my son shall I call you my son are you ashamed I lost you you are my son alive I've found you you're me speak to show me your face turn your head towards me show me your face
OEDEPUS

you are making all my pains useless you are spoiling my comfortable darkness go away the greatest not to cleanse be between under there JOCASTA you were my husband sons nothing you are my us we must deepest them not meet oceans should be washing can cleanse them

forcing

me

to see again

between

our bodies

some other

crags chasms deserts should if another world somewhere far under hangs this one sun and lost away among other stars one of us nothing

should be

can be blamed

there is no road away from it


OEDEPUS

son you killed my husband I bore your has that everything is here happened

no more words mother I beg you all our in names that is by right and wrong let there be no more words between us two

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370

THE OEDIPUS

OF SENECA

JOCASTA nothing I shared the wrong how do I share I am the I'm at the root of it the punishment it'sme root my your womb raving godless blood the dark twisted root darkness so die out this let all and distinction order swallowing lives in you whole universe nothing would onto me be enough to punish it if god smashed a mother
a morass

inme moves

can I not feel

hell that
his

itwouldn't

be enough

all Iwant is death


you killed your father

find it
finish it the same hand your mother

finish it is this the sword that killed him


and my husband's father with a

is this it that killed my


stab where have

husband shall I single the second across or this stab this point under my breast long edge my throat this it's here the place the don't you know the place gods hate where everything began the son the husband up here
CHORUS

look squeezes

her hand

slackens

from the sword

the whelm

of

blood
the sword out
OEDEPUS

you god of the oracle as you said only my

you deceived father's

me

lied to me was

death

ithas enough been doubled and the blame has been doubled mother my
death comes from me both my father is dead and her are and my mother

it has not turned out it was required

dead by my fate

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Ted Hughes it ismore than Iwas promised I am content

371

now go

the dark road

quickly

quickly begin do not


stumble on the the disease your spirits broken curse off you

body of your mother you people of Thebes look hope I am going again now away now

crushed with

I am taking my you will see your

lookup

sun sky alter your alter your grass

you can

now everything will change out for death your faces pressed hoping only to your graves if you can move at all now look up you can breathe suck in the new it will cure all the sickness and air go bury your dead now without is leaving your land I am taking fear because the contagion itwith me I am taking it away fate remorseless my enemy you are the friend I come with me choose ulcerous agony consumption pestilence blasting plague and your air all you stretched
terror

plague lead me

blackness

despair

welcome

come with me you are my guides

(The chorus

celebrate

the departure

of oedipus with

a dance

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