ETEOCLES: O race the gods drive mad, race the gods so much hate, my race so full of tears, race of Oedipus! Ah me, my father’s curse has indeed come true now! But it is not proper to cry or lament, lest that give birth to grief even harder to bear. For this man so well named – Polyneices,16 I mean – we shall soon know where that shield-device will end up, whether those letters worked in gold, blethering balderdash on his shield, are really going to bring

him home. If Justice, the virgin daughter of Zeus, were the companion of his actions and his mind, that might have been the case; but in fact, neither when he escaped the darkness of the womb, nor when he was growing, nor when he reached adolescence, nor when his chin was gathering hair, did Justice ever set eyes on him or hold him in any honour; nor now, surely, when he does harm to his own native land, is she standing close by him, I imagine. Truly Justice would be utterly false to her name if she consorted with a man with so utterly audacious a mind. Trusting in this, I will go and stand against him myself: who else has a better right to do so? Ruler against ruler, brother against brother, enemy against enemy I will stand. Give me at once my greaves, protection against spear and stone.17