My favorite quotes from Chapter 2 of Madeline Miller’s Circe.
CN: torture of a prisoner.
- Circe, narrating (17): I was in my customary place at my father’s feet. I lay silent so they would not notice and send me away, but I felt my chest roiling with that overwhelming possibility: the war revived. Our halls blasted wide with thunderbolts. Athena, Zeus’ warrior daughter, hunting us down with her gray spear, her brother in slaughter, Ares, by her side. We would be chained and cast into fiery pits from which there was no escape.
- A Fury speaking, then Circe narrating (18-19): “I bring the prisoner.”
Her voice echoed off the ceiling, raw and baying, like a hunting dog calling down its quarry. She strode into the hall. In her right hand was a whip, its tip rasping faintly as it dragged along the floor. In her other hand stretched a length of chain, and at its end followed Prometheus.
He wore a thick white blindfold and the remnants of a tunic around his waist. His hands were bound and his feet too, yet he did not stumble. I heard an aunt beside me whisper that the fetters had been made by the great god of smiths, Hephaestus himself, so not even Zeus could break them. The Fury rose up on her vulture wings and drove the manacles high into the wall. Prometheus dangled from them, his arms drawn taut, his bones showing knobs through the skin. Even I, who knew so little of discomfort, felt the ache of it.
- Circe, narrating (19): She began to carve in earnest, each blow falling on the next, peeling his flesh away in long lines that crossed and recrossed his skin. The only sound was the snap of the whip and Prometheus’ muffled, explosive breaths. The tendons stood out in his neck. Someone pushed at my back, trying for a better view.
- Circe, narration (24): I am embarrassed to tell it, so rudimentary it seems, like an infant’s discovery that her hand is her own. But that is what I was then, an infant.
The thought was this: that all my life had been murk and depths, but I was not a part of that dark water. I was a creature within it.
Got any songs you recommend for my Circe playlist? Let me know in the comments!
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