557-580

ΟΝΕΣΙΜΟΣ

τοπαστικὸν τὸ γύναιον. ὡς ᾔσθηθ’ ὅτι

κατὰ τὸν ἔρωτ’ οὐκ ἔστ’ ἐλευθερίας τυχεῖν

ἄλλως δ’ ἀλύει, τὴν ἑτέραν πορεύεται

ὁδόν. ἀλλ’ ἐγὼ τὸν πάντα δουλεύσω χρόνον,560

λέμφος, ἀπόπληκτος, οὐδαμῶς προνοητικὸς

τὰ τοιαῦτα. παρὰ ταύτης δ’ ἴσως τι λήψομαι,

ἂν ἐπιτύχῃ· καὶ γὰρ δίκαιον. ὡς κενὰ

καὶ διαλογίζομ’ ὁ κακοδαίμων, προσδοκῶν

χάριν κομιεῖσθαι παρὰ γυναικός· μὴ μόνον565

κακόν τι προσλάβοιμι. νῦν ἐπισφαλῆ

τὰ πράγματ’ ἐστὶ τὰ περὶ τὴν κεκτημένην·

ταχέως ἐὰν γὰρ εὑρεθῇ πατρὸς κόρη

ἐλευθέρου μήτηρ τε τοῦ νῦν παιδίου

γεγονυῖ’, ἐκείνην λήψεται ταύτην […570

…] ἀπολείπειν […

καὶ νῦν χαριέντως ἐκνενευκέναι δοκῶ

τῷ μὴ δι’ ἐμοῦ ταυτὶ κυκᾶσθαι. χαιρέτω

τὸ πολλὰ πράττειν· ἂν δέ τις λάβῃ μέ τι

περιεργασάμενον ἢ λαλήσαντ’ ἐκτεμεῖν575

δίδωμ’ ἐμαυτοῦ τοὺς ὀδόντας· —οὑτοσὶ

τίς ἐσθ’ ὁ προσιών; Σμικρίνης ἀναστρέφει

ἐξ ἄστεως πάλιν ταρακτικῶς ἔχων

αὖτις· πέπυσται τὰς ἀληθείας ἴσως

παρά τινος οὗτος. ἐκποδὼν δὲ βούλομαι580

ποιεῖν ἐμαυτόν…

[ΧΟΡΟΥ]

    After the departure of HABROTONON, ONESIMOS spends some time musing with the spectators.

     

    557 τοπαστικον: This is the only surviving instance of this word in Greek literature. Menander intentionally writes ONESIMOS so that what he says is often not quite articulate, so this could be a word that ONESIMOS makes up on the spot but does not sound quite right. The related verb τοπάζω means “take a guess,” so this adjective might sound like it means something related to that, even if that does not quite make sense in context. ᾔσθηθ’: = ᾔσθηται > αἰσθάνομαι 3rd sing. perf. ind. mid.

    558 ἔρωτ’: = ἔρωτα. ἔστ’: = ἔστι

    564 διαλογίζομ’: = διαλογίζομαι

    568 εὑρεθῇ: > εὑρίσκω 3rd sing. aor. subj. pass.

    570 γεγονυῖ(α): > γίγνομαι fem. nom. sing. perf. part. act.

    570-571: The end of line 570 and most of 571 are missing in the papyrus, but somehow ONESIMOS must have completed his thought about the risk to PAMPHILE.

    572 ἐκνενευκέναι: It is unclear just what this word means, because it is not certain from what verb stem it derives. The form might derive from ἐκνέω, meaning “swim away” or from ἐκνεύω “avoid,” either of which makes similar sense. As elsewhere, the ambiguity might be intentional on Menander’s part, making ONESIMOS’ speech intentionally inarticulate (see note on line 557).

    573 χαιρέτω: lit. “let it farewell,” much like saying “Goodbye to…!”

    574 τὸ πολλὰ πράττειν: a colloquial expression meaning to get involved in other people’s business.

    576 ὀδόντας: It is uncertain what ONESIMOS means by offering to have his teeth cut out. One scholar has suggested that the teeth are a humorous last-minute nervous substitution for an expected ὄρχεις (“testicles”). Yet again, Menander may be making ONESIMOS sound intentionally offbeat.

    SMIKRINES enters the stage.

    577 οὑτοσὶ: = οὗτος + deictic (“pointing”) iota, “this man here…” ἐσθ’: = ἐστι

    579 πέπυσται: > πυνθάνομαι 3 s. perf. ind. mid.

     

    The script of the remainder of Act 3 is quite mutilated, so the text is omitted here. From what scholars can glean, three sequences completed this act: (1) after ONESIMOS leaves, SMIKRINES delivered another rant alone to the audience, seemingly again about the behavior of CHARISIOS (2) the cook KARION and an assistant burst out of the house and deliver news, which leads to a heated conversation with SMIKRINES and (3) after the departure of KARION, someone else comes out and talks with SMIKRINES, possibly CHAIRESTRATOS. The next section picks up early in Act 4.

    ἀλύω: to stir, excite

    δουλεύω δουλεύσω: to be a slave

    λέμφος -α -ον: snotty

    ἀπόπληκτος -ον: senseless

    οὐδαμῶς: in no way

    προνοητικός -ή -όν: provident, cautious, showing forethought

    ἐπιτυγχάνω ἐπιτεύξομαι ἐπέτυχον: to succeed

    κενός -ή -όν: empty

    διαλογίζομαι: to balance one’s accounts, count, calculate 

    κακοδαίμων -ον: ill-starred, poor devil

    προσδοκέω: to expect

    προσλαμβάνω προσλήψομαι προσέλαβον: to take in, receive

    ἐπισφαλής -ές: unstable, precarious, at risk

    κεκτημένη -ης ἡ: owner (ONESIMOS here refers to PAMPHILE)

    ταχέως: quickly, speedily

    κόρη -ης ἡ: girl

    παιδίον -ου τό: little child, young child

    ἀπολείπω: to leave

    χαριέντως: gracefully

    κυκάω: to stir

    περιεργάζομαι περιεργάσομαι περιηργασαμ: to work in, meddle

    ἐκτέμνω ἐκτεμῶ: to cut out

    πρόσειμι: to be near, approach

    ἀναστρέφω: to turn back, retreat

    ἄστυ -εως τό: town

    ταρακτικῶς: “with the intent to cause trouble”

    ἐκποδών: out of the way

    ONESIMOS

    (suddenly alone, less confident than before,

    to the audience)

    That girl is

    (shake head, at a loss for words in awe of HABROTONON)

    … well she’s just supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! She knows she can’t buy her freedom with love – that’s a big risk with low reward – so she finds another route.

    (self-deprecatingly)

    (560) But I’ll be a slave forever, snotty, senseless, incapable of planning something

    (gestures towards the house/the direction HABROTONON went)

    like this. Maybe I’ll get something out of all this. It’d only be fair,

    (in admiration)

    but how could I expect any (565) thanks from a woman like that? I’m an unlucky coward with nothing to my name. And besides, I don’t want any more trouble, my mistress’ position is already uncertain and if we find out the mother is freeborn, (570) he’ll have to marry her!

    (finding a “silver lining”/some comfort)

    Well, at least I seem to have gotten lucky – she’s taken over the whole investigation …

    (nervous again, wringing hands)

    but if anyone were to find out that I’d meddled or… or blabbed! Gods, they’d rip the teeth right from my skull!

    (noise of someone approaching/angrily grumbling;

    jumps, startled; moves to the side as if hiding)

    Who’s there?

    (SMIKRINES enters)

    Ugh, it’s Smikrines, back from town already, and

    (sarcastically)

    ohhh look he’s angry again – big shock! –

    (shaking head)

    well maybe he’s finally learned the truth from someone.

     

    END ACT 3

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    Suggested Citation

    Marie Plunkett, Menander: Epitrepontes (The Arbitration). Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2022. ISBN: 978-1-947822-19-1. https://dcc.dickinson.edu/menander-epitrepontes/557-580