Sophocles (c.496–c.406 BC), translated by Theodoridis, G., (contributor-contact-email)

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Sophocles’ Ajax, a 5th century BCE Greek tragedy, possibly the earliest of his extant works, follows the narrative of the warrior Ajax during the Trojan War, postdating the Iliad. The drama unfolds with Athena and Odysseus discussing the allocation of Achilles’ armour, a decision that infuriates Ajax as he deems himself the rightful heir. Athena intervenes, tricking Ajax through false visions into slaughtering the Greek spoils of war, comprising cattle and herdsmen, mistakenly perceived by Ajax as his rivals due to Athena’s deception.

When Ajax regains sanity, realising his actions, he is engulfed by shame and resolves to commit suicide, despite the pleas of his concubine Tecmessa. He entrusts his son with his shield before impaling himself on his sword. Ajax’s death ignites conflict over his burial. Menelaus and Agamemnon want to leave the body for scavengers, whilst his half-brother Teucer insists on a proper burial. Odysseus mediates, advocating that even one’s enemies deserve respect in death, leading to Ajax’s eventual funeral rites.

Author Details

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Theodoridis, G.,

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