vir litterarum wrote:Yeah, I can see where you're coming from. The potential optative used by the chorus does express a feeling of deference. But I would have expected Oedipus, if he were intending for τρίτ᾽ to be predicative, to speak the line in the same way as you translated the meaning: "even if it might only be the third best option." Doesn't it seem to you that ἐστί is too vivid here to express this?
I've been thinking about this -- I think the thing is that there is no other option than the indicative (either counterfactual or not). The optative and subjunctive are used only in reference to the future or general statements, right? So ἐστί would be the only option that wouldn't be counterfactual. And then again, even in English, saying "even if it's the third best option" doesn't sound bad.
vir litterarum wrote:The OCT only has ἐστί. I just requested the Teubner. It seems that this must be the definitive accentuation. What bothers me is how scholars contradict themselves. Jebb edited his own text of the OT and accentuated it ἐστί, yet he translates it, " And if there is a third course, do not hesitate to reveal it too." Likewise Hugh Lloyd-Jones for the Loeb accepts ἐστί, yet translates it, "if there is even a third best, do not omit to tell me." How could such preeminent Sophoclean scholars contradict themselves on something that one learns in Greek 101? Is there something I am missing?
There's a book
, "The Verb "be" in Ancient Greek" by Charles H. Kahn, that's about εἶναι and I know there's a section on the accent but I don't quite remember the conclusions. I think, however, that it's mentioned that there are cases of unemphatic existential predicates being enclitic, and this may be the case here, since the emphasis would be on the being third, so that may give some leeway for the translation as an existential.