Revision:Greek tragedy quotes

These quotes are taken from some of the Greek Tragedies you might study at A Level (for A2s).


  • "But for his crimes against me I'll have revenge on Hippolytus this day" Aphrodite
  • "No god worshipped by night wins my respect" Hippolytus
  • "One i love is my destroyer" Phaedra
  • "In my house i have a charm that is a spell for love- it only came into my mind this moment" Nurse
  • "It was my tongue that swore, not my heart" Hippolytus
  • "But in so dying i will prove deadly to another's life" Phaedra
  • "Now Poseidon, use one of the three curse you promised me once and destroy my son" Theseus
  • "To this day i remain a virgin" Hippolytus
  • "the wave sent forth a bull" Messenger
  • "I will take revenge on...whatever man she loves most on earth" Artemis
  • "I absolve you of this bloodshed" Hippolytus


Things Hippoolytus says

  • 'women, this counterfeit coin'
  • 'women it seems are always evil'
  • 'My body is innocent to this day of sexual love'
  • 'since gods may choose who they honour, so may men' (hubris)
  • 'To me she [Aphrodite] means nothing'
  • 'woman is an evil pest'
  • 'One thing saves you women, I fear the gods' (of course not Aphrodite, irony)
  • 'my curse on the whole race of women'
  • 'You will never meet a man whose nature is more pure, more sound than mine'


  • "my children" Oedipus to Chorus
  • "Drive the corruption from the land" Creon (speaking prophecy)
  • "Blind who has eyes, beggar who now is rich" Tiresias
  • "I say you are the murders you hunt" Tiresias
  • "A swirl of it, nerves and clots" Messenger
  • "I haven't come to mock you" Creon
  • "All come true, all burst to light!" Oedipus
  • "not if you see things clearly, rationally, as i do" Creon
  • "Let that man drag out his life in agony" Oedipus
  • "So much for prophecy" Jocasta
  • "I turn to you Apollo, you are nearest" Jocasta.
  • "Chance rules our lives" Jocasta
  • "You pray to the gods, let me grant your prayers" Oedipus
  • "I am Oedipus" (I think we know who says that!)
  • "Blind, lost in the night, endless night that nursed you" Oedipus to Tiresias


Things Oedipus says

  • 'the world knows my fame, I am Oedipus'
  • 'I'll let loose, I have such fury in me'
  • 'Mock me -- and you'll reveal my greatness'
  • 'I curse myself as well... if by any chance he proves to be an intimate of our house' (irony)
  • 'I will fight for him [lias] as if he were my father' (irony)

Extra Detailed Notes:

Sophocles – Oedipus the King Revision Notes

O: “Oh my children, the new blood of ancient Thebes, why are you here? Huddling at my altar?” – This shows us that Oedipus talks to his people with a great deal of affection and that he is emphasizing that he is in a position to help them.

O: “The world knows my fame” – He is known for killing the spynx. He goes out to reassure and communicate with them.

O: “I’ll do anything. I would be blind to misery” – He wants to do well, he wants to save his people. He feels responsible for them.

It is odd to hear nautical imagery because Thebes was landlocked however, where the play was set in Athens it was a big port and so the people watching would be used to it.

O: “I’ll be a traitor if I do not do all the god makes clear” – Irony, the oracle says that he must kill the cause of the plague which is him. It stresses how much pain he is in because his land is being plagued.

O: “who murdered Laius…. Denounce himself….. He will suffer no unbearable punishment, nothing worse than exile, totally unharmed” – It was Oedipus, we know he murdered someone. Oedipus wants them to speak up and admit they killed Laius. It is IRONIC because Oedipus will go into exile. Oedipus is being rational by trying to get rid of the plague.

O: “Unknown in his crime” – IRONIC, Oedipus is unaware what he’s done and so he doesn’t have “full knowledge.”

Leader: “The truth lives inside him, him alone” – Very important, they will change their minds soon.

Tiresias: “How terrible to see the truth” – Let’s the audience know that he knows what has happened.

Tiresias: “I say you are the murderer we hunt” – He’s revealed it.

Chorus: “Never will I convict my king, never in my heart” – In their instinctive part they are loyal to him.

O: “I have a terrible fear the blind seer can see.” – He knows that Tiresias is actually right.

O: “Polybus who reared me, gave me life” – He is still not making the connection.

Jocasta: “Oh no, listen to me, I beg you not to do this” – Oedipus is discovering the truth but Jocasta is concerned with the stability and security of the house and her family. However, Oedipus is concerned with his honour and reputation.

The Electra

  • "If i speak harshly to you, it is only because i get nothing but harsh words from you" Clytaemnestra
  • "O misery!" Electra
  • "If you will not cease your wailing you are to be sent to some place will you'll never see the light" Chrysothemis
  • "Now my good lads...we must make our plans and loose no time" Tutor
  • " I cannot help but suffer, when my own loss is the price of my own living" Cly.
  • "Must this good deed be hidden from the daylight?" Aegisthus
  • "Then i must do the thing myself alone" Electra
  • "Have mercy my son, have mercy on your mother" Cly.
  • "is it really you?" Cly - orestes
  • "Orestes is dead" - Tutor
  • "Have you taken leave of your senses you two?" Tutor to orestes and Electra
  • "Half my life is wasted away in hopeless waiting" Electra
  • "My Policy is to bow before the storm" Crysothemis
  • "In name, but nothing else, a mother" Electra on Clytaemnestra


  • "I smell the open grave" Cassandra
  • "She must learn to take the cutting bridle" Clytaemnestra
  • "Let the red stream flow and bear him home" Clytaemnestra
  • "I am not ashamed to tell you how i love the man" Clytaemnestra
  • "Spoken like a man, my lady" Chorus.
  • "She brings a fresh, voluptuous relish to my bed" Cly.
  • "That woman, she manoeuvres like a man" Watchman
  • "You treat me like a woman" Ag.
  • "What a brilliant day it is for vengeance" Cly.
  • "The ox is on my tongue" Watchman
  • "From the king himself I'll gather all i need" Cly.
  • "Cry, cry for death but good win out in glory in the end" Chorus
  • "Words, endless words I've said to serve the moment." Clytaemnestra


  • "Mother, have mercy" Pentheus
  • "You must first dress yourself in a fine linen gown" Dionysus
  • "We agreed to equip ourself with Bacchic wands and fawnskin cloaks" Tiresias and Cadmus
  • "I will demonstrate to him, and to all Thebes, that i am a God" Dionysus
  • "He shall be stoned to death" Pentheus
  • "I am sane and you are mad" Dionysus
  • "Those who desired milk only had to scratch the earth with fingertips" Messenger.
  • "I seem to see two suns, a double Thebes" Pentheus
  • "Aphrodite supplants Bacchus in their ritual" Pentheus
  • "The beast was gentle" Guards to Pentheus
  • "With our hands hunted and took this beast, then tore him limb from limb" Women, specifically Agaue.
  • "Run, dance, delirious, possessed" Chorus
  • "A woman will be safe from corruption if her mind is chaste" I think Pentheus, but I can't remember


  • "Zeus do you hear how i am mocked?" Medea
  • "We can't escape from her sword" Children
  • "Swear by the earth...the sun...and the whole race of gods" Medea to Aegeas
  • " gum drops from a pine tree's bark" Messenger to medea about the deaths
  • " You must not do this" Chorus
  • "All happiness to you, medea" Aegeas
  • "I've reached your heart, and that is right" Medea to jason.
  • "The laughter of my enemies i will not endure" Medea
  • "....for one short day forget your children" Medea to herself
  • "Your news is excellent" Medea to messenger
  • "You filthy coward!" Medea to Jason
  • "I'd rather stand three times in the front line than bear one child" Medea
  • "Death take you, with your father, and perish his whole house" Medea to Children
  • "she'll not relax her rage till it has found its victim" Tutor
  • "Jason was my whole life" Medea to Aegeas
  • "I will not desert a friend" Jason to Medea
  • "Do you think i would ever have fawned on this man, except to gain my purpose?" Medea
  • "you can hardly in one day accomplish what i am afraid of" Creon
  • "The middle best by far" Nurse
  • "I kneel to you" Medea
  • "If only children could be got some other way, without the female sex" Jason.
  • "Her mood is cruel, her nature dangerous" chorus, I think, or nurse
  • "We were born women- useless for honest purposes." Medea


Please remember to check any quotes against your own copy of the book as you may be using a different translation meaning some quotes could be slightly different.

Quote originally gathered by Bboy_Soapy, Teao the Cat and TRB on TSR Forums.