Over the Rainbow - a site for survivors of any unwanted sexual activity
    From "The Love of the Nightingale" - Timberlake Wertenbaker
I love this speech and have used it many times at auditions. I love the journey that the character Philomele makes. From trying to make sense of what happened, to blaming herself for what happened, then realising that the blame lies with Tereus to the final declaration of 'I will talk' showing her refusal to be silenced by rape.
Scene 15
(Tereus enters)

TEREUS: Now I wish you didn't exist.


PHILOMELE: When will you explain, Tereus?

TEREUS: Explain?

PHILOLMELE: Why? The cause? I want to understand.

TEREUS: I don't know what to do with you.



I was the cause, wasn't I? Was I? I said something. What did I do?


Something in my walk? If I had sung a different song? My hair up, my hair down? It was the beach. I ought not to have been there. I ought not to have been anywhere. I ought not to have been...at all...then there would be no cause. Is that it? Answer.


PHILOMELE: My body bleeding, my sprit ripped open, and I am the cause? No this cannot be right, why would I cause my own pain? That isn't reasonable. What was it then, tell me, Tereus, if I was not the cause?


You must know, it was your act, you must know, tell me, why, say.


It was your act. It was you. I caused nothing.

(Short pause)

And Procne is not dead. I can smell her on you.


You. You lied. And you.

What did you tell your wife, my sister, Procne, what did you tell her? Did you tell her you violated her sister, the sister she gave into your trust? Did you tell her what a coward you are and that you could not, cannot bear to look at me? Did you tell her that despite my fear, your violence, when I saw you in your nakedness I couldn't help laughing because you were so shrivelled, so ridiculous and it is not the way it is on statues? Did you tell her you cut me because you yourself had no strength? Did you tell her I pitied her for having in her bed a man who could screech such quick and ugly pleasure, a man of jelly beneath his hard skin, did you tell her that?


And once I envied her happiness with her northern hero. The leader of men. Take the sword out of your hand, you fold into a cloth. Have they ever looked at you, your soldiers, your subjects?

TEREUS: That's enough.

PHILOMELE:There's nothing inside you. You're only full when you're filled with violence. And they obey you? Look up to you? Have the men and women of Thrace seen you naked? Shall I tell them? Yes, I will talk.

Wertenbaker, T. The Love of the Nightingale, London, Faber & Faber, 1989.

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