“Suppliants” by Aeschylus

Aeschylus’ Zeus

The desire of Zeus is not easy to hunt out: the paths of his mind stretch tangled and shadowy, impossible to perceive or see clearly. It falls safe, not on its back, when an action is ordained by the nod of Zeus. It blazes everywhere, even in darkness, with black [obscure] fortune for mortal folk. He casts human down from lofty, towering hopes to utter destruction without deploying any armed force. Everything gods do is done without toil: he sits still, and nevertheless somehow carries out his will directly from his abode.

Will not Zeus be liable to merited censure for dishonouring the child of the cow, whom he himself once begot and caused to be, by now turning his face away when we pray to him?

Kindred to both [peoples] in blood, Zeus surveys both sides [in both directions] alike in this dispute with an impartial scale, apportioning, as is due, to the wicked their wrongdoing and to the godly their works of righteousness. When these things are thus equally balanced, why do you fear to act justly?



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