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discontinuous syntax in Ajax

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discontinuous syntax in Ajax

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:04 pm

Sophocles Ajax 791-796 Eng. Trans. R.C. Jebb Perseus/Tufts. [note: this doesn't appear to be R.C. Jebb's translation, which I have in hard copy. Looks like a contemporary revision, with recent American idioms.

Τέκμησσα

οἴμοι, τί φής, ἄνθρωπε; μῶν ὀλώλαμεν;

Ἄγγελος

οὐκ οἶδα τὴν σὴν πρᾶξιν, Αἴαντος δ᾽ ὅτι,
θυραῖος εἴπερ ἐστίν, οὐ θαρσῶ πέρι.

Τέκμησσα

καὶ μὴν θυραῖος, ὥστε μ᾽ ὠδίνειν τί φής.

Ἄγγελος

ἐκεῖνον εἴργειν Τεῦκρος ἐξεφίεται
σκηνῆς ὕπαυλον μηδ᾽ ἀφιέναι μόνον.

Tecmessa
Oh, no, what is your news, man? Surely we are not ruined?

Messenger
I have no clue of your condition, but know only that, if Ajax is away, I have little hope for him.

Tecmessa
But he is away, so I am in agony to know what you mean.

Messenger
Teucer strictly commands that you keep Ajax under shelter of his tent and not allow him to go out alone.

Hyperbaton or discontinuous syntax is evident in the distance between Αἴαντος … πέρι. The conditional construction θυραῖος εἴπερ ἐστίν, οὐ θαρσῶ is bounded by the proper noun Αἴαντος and the postpositive πέρι. In other words: “I don’t know about your situation [οὐκ οἶδα τὴν σὴν πρᾶξιν] … concerning Ajax [ Αἴαντος … πέρι] if he is out and about [θυραῖος εἴπερ ἐστίν], I have no confidence [οὐ θαρσῶ].

C. Stirling Bartholomew
C. Stirling Bartholomew
C. S. Bartholomew
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