Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bringing back Philoctetes


Sophocles' Philoctotes offers the confrontation of two modes of getting things done - (via Parada's entry on Neoptolemus):

Neoptolemus: It is not in my nature to achieve anything by means of evil cunning ... But I am ready to take the man by force and without treachery.

Odysseus: I, too, in my youth once had a slow tongue and an active hand. But now I see that the tongue, not action, is what masters everything among men... I command you to take Philoctetes by deceit.

Neoptolemus: Then you think it brings no shame to speak what is false?

Odysseus: No, not if the falsehood yields deliverance.

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