Georgias, Encomium of Helen 7-9

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εἰ δὲ βίαι ἡρπάσθη καὶ ἀνόμως ἐβιάσθη καὶ ἀδίκως ὑβρίσθη, δῆλον ὅτι ὁ ἁρπάσας ἢ ὑβρίσας ἠδίκησεν, ἡ δὲ ἁρπασθεῖσα ἢ ὑβρισθεῖσα ἐδυστύχησεν. [...] (8) εἰ δὲ λόγος ὁ πείσας καὶ τὴν ψυχὴν ἀπατήσας, οὐδὲ πρὸς τοῦτο χαλεπὸν ἀπολογήσασθαι καὶ τὴν αἰτίαν ἀπολύσασθαι ὧδε. λόγος δυνάστης μέγας ἐστίν, ὃς σμικροτάτωι σώματι καὶ ἀφανεστάτωι θειότατα ἔργα ἀποτελεῖ· δύναται γὰρ καὶ φόβον παῦσαι καὶ λύπην ἀφελεῖν καὶ χαρὰν ἐνεργάσασθαι καὶ ἔλεον ἐπαυξῆσαι. ταῦτα δὲ ὡς οὕτως ἔχει δείξω· (9) δεῖ δὲ καὶ δόξηι δεῖξαι τοῖς ἀκούουσι· τὴν ποίησιν ἅπασαν καὶ νομίζω καὶ ὀνομάζω λόγον ἔχοντα μέτρον· ἧς τοὺς ἀκούοντας εἰσῆλθε καὶ φρίκη περίφοβος καὶ ἔλεος πολύδακρυς καὶ πόθος φιλοπενθής, ἐπ' ἀλλοτρίων τε πραγμάτων καὶ σωμάτων εὐτυχίαις καὶ δυσπραγίαις ἴδιόν τι πάθημα διὰ τῶν λόγων ἔπαθεν ἡ ψυχή.

If she was seized by force, unlawfully constrained, and unjustly abused, it is clear that the man who seized or abused did wrong, and that the woman who was seized or abused suffered misfortune. […] (8) But if speech persuaded and deceived her soul, it is also not difficult to offer a defence for that and to dismiss the accusation in the following way. Speech is a powerful lord, which by the smallest and most invisible body achieves the most divine works; for it can stop fear, remove pain, produce joy, and increase pity. And I shall prove that this is the case; (9) and I must prove it to my listeners by reference to opinion as well. I consider and define all poetry as speech with metre. A fearful shudder, tearful pity, and grievous longing come upon those who hear it, and on account of words the soul suffers its own affliction at the successes and misfortunes of others’ affairs and bodies.

Relevant guides Embodiments of Literature