Sophocles: The Ajax. 1st Ed. 1896 ePUB Õ Sophocles:

Sophocles: The Ajax. 1st Ed. 1896 ePUB Õ Sophocles: This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world , and other notations in the work This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity individual or corporate has a copyright on the body of the workAs a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant Yet I feel his wretchedness My enemy, yes, but caught up in a terrible doom My doom, too I see that now All we who live, live as ghosts of ourselves Shadows in passingThus speaks Odysseus, with regard to Aias who has in a blind and savage spell of madness, inspired by Athena slaughtered his fellow Greek s spoils of war cattle, sheep, etc , while thinking that he was actually taking revenge on Menelaus and Agamemnon after they had corruptly awarded the fallen Achilles armor toYet I feel his wretchedness My enemy, yes, but caught up in a terrible doom My doom, too I see that now All we who live, live as ghosts of ourselves Shadows in passingThus speaks Odysseus, with regard to Aias who has in a blind and savage spell of madness, inspired by Athena slaughtered his fellow Greek s spoils of war cattle, sheep, etc , while thinking that he was actually taking revenge on Menelaus and Agamemnon after they had corruptly awarded the fallen Achilles armor to Odysseus instead of to him, to Aias the superior warrior The play opens with this event, which has dishonored Aias and drives him to suicide once he becomes aware of what he has done The action then centers on whether or not Aias should be buried The play has some excellent dialogue, and the themes of revenge, friendship, and the extent to which animosity may be pursued were especially intriguing To mock foes, is that not the sweetest mockery Athena s cruel words leave Odysseus hesitant in the opening scene of Ajax, one of Sophocles most intense and dramatic plays The powerful Goddess has made the Greek hero Ajax lose his mind and fight herds of cattle instead of men in his delusion To make his shame perfect, she wants Odysseus to see his disgrace When Odysseus refuses, she mocks him, asking provocatively if he is afraid of a madman And the clever Odysseus answers, without hesitat To mock foes, is that not the sweetest mockery Athena s cruel words leave Odysseus hesitant in the opening scene of Ajax, one of Sophocles most intense and dramatic plays The powerful Goddess has made the Greek hero Ajax lose his mind and fight herds of cattle instead of men in his delusion To make his shame perfect, she wants Odysseus to see his disgrace When Odysseus refuses, she mocks him, asking provocatively if he is afraid of a madman And the clever Odysseus answers, without hesitation this time Had he been sane, no fear had made me shrink That is a striking thought, and essentially true A Greek hero, however powerful and angry, however dangerous to fight, is a known entity to Odysseus as long as the enemy is sane, and uses the same rules to judge a situation as he would himself A hero with the same physical power, but deprived of vital mental capacities, is a scarily uncertain threat that can not be faced with regular methods.Athena wants to show off her power to punish humans, so she forces Odysseus to watch Ajax in all his boastful delusion He is left reflective I know none nobler and I pity him In his misery, albeit he is my foe, Since he is yoked fast to an evil doom My own lot I regard no less than his For I see well, nought else are we but mere Phantoms, all we that live, mere fleeting shadows Ajax misery is not over yet, however The worst possible conclusion has yet to come he will see his own madness and despair of life For as long as he stays in his delusion, others might pity him, but he is triumphant Only with the sane eyes of his society, he will know his own downfall The effect is terrifying Nobly to live, or else nobly to die Befits proud birth There is noto say The following scenes in Ajax have always fascinated me, as they juxtapose different values and ideals in society Ajax argues for the necessity to live and die like a hero, following the credo of Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori , and his wife Tecmessa counterbalances the heroic ideal with the duties of a father and husband, the long term effects of his commitment to a family and his responsibilities on earth The arguments are not put forward in a dialogue, as the two concepts are not compatible, and despite Tecmessa s eloquent soliloquy for family and future, Ajax opts for the heroic exit, and opens up for a new discussion in Greek style does he deserve a proper burial Ajax leaves me with a chilling feeling, a bitter taste of knowing that human beings are fragile, delusional, obsessed with matters of superficial honour and fame, and that they are willing to sacrifice everything they have built up for themselves to make a mark on history, to stand out in the crowd.What for Why carry the heroic ideals from generation to generation, from culture to culture, never stopping to think of the future that will come if we do not end the eternal circle of violence based on pride and delusion After the first world war, a generation of poets challenged the ancient idea of military glory, but The Poems Of Wilfred Owen have not been able to convince the majority of humanity of the vanity and waste of nationalism, patriotism, militarism and exclusive club or tribe behaviour.Carol Ann Duffy once wrote a Wilfred Owen poem backwards, and made the soldiers reject the heroic ideal and go home Last Post What a powerful message for everyday life with its pleasure in small things But it does not look like we have lost the tribal honour codes in the world despite the voices raised against them ever since Sophocles made Tecmessa speak up for responsibility and life The Ajaxes of this world are stillconcerned with their own reputation and fame than with real solutions for the future And women and children are stilloften than not the victims of this mindset Psychosis and the Trojan War20 March 2012 On the 9th of March 2012 an American patrol was travelling through Afghanistan when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb Of the occupants two were severely injured I believe they lost limbs Two days later, on the 11th March 2012, one of the soldiers that had escaped injury took up an assault rifle, left the camp, and proceeded to slaughter 16 Afghani civilians from two villages This event hit the media like a storm, and as of the writing of t Psychosis and the Trojan War20 March 2012 On the 9th of March 2012 an American patrol was travelling through Afghanistan when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb Of the occupants two were severely injured I believe they lost limbs Two days later, on the 11th March 2012, one of the soldiers that had escaped injury took up an assault rifle, left the camp, and proceeded to slaughter 16 Afghani civilians from two villages This event hit the media like a storm, and as of the writing of this commentary, the soldier is up on charges and has made the statement that he cannot remember anything of the incident itself The question that you may be asking is, what has this got to do with a play written 2500 years ago My answer is quite a lot actually In fact this recent incident in Afghanistan is almost identical to the plot of the Ajax with the exception that the soldier did not kill himself whereas Ajax did When I first picked up this book last night I was thinking that I would just read this play, which I quite like, and comment on it like I have been doing with the other Greek plays that I have read recently However, my mind had already been triggered by some books that I have ordered from the US that discuss mental illnesses, particularly PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that appeared in Ancient Greek literature A friend of mine at work has read one of them and speaks very highly of the scholarship that is involved in it Another book that I have picked up deals with PTSD as it appears in Heracles by Euripides However, I have noticed that there seems to be a lack of literature relating to a similar condition arising in the Ajax The story of Ajax is that Ajax is a commander in the Trojan War and after Paris killed Achilles, there was a competition over who would get armour Odysseus won However it turns out that Odysseus surprise, surprise cheated and that Ajax should have got the armour instead Ajax then descends into a fit of madness and begins to slaughter the Greeks cattle, believing them to be the Greeks themselves Upon discovering the truth, he descends into depression and finishes off by killing himself There isto the play than that, particularly when Odysseus then steps up afterwards and defends Ajax s honour against Menelaus and Agamemnon The events of the play show elements of psychosis and major depressive disorder leading to suicidal ideation you can tell I work in personal injury The depressive elements are very clear, particularly when it is Ajax s honour that has been destroyed As the saying goes, it takes a lifetime to build a reputation and a moment to destroy it Ajax s fit of madness destroyed his reputation in minutes However we note that with the exception of Odysseus, there is absolutely no sympathy for Ajax from any of the other commanders As far as they are concerned he has betrayed them and his people Ajax sees himself having no friends the Trojans hate him and the Greeks hate him, and despite his mother and brother loving him, his guilt pervades him to the point that he has no choice but to fall onto his sword Now, as I read through the English translation with the Greek being on the opposite page I noticed Ajax s illness being mentioned numerous times I flicked my eyes over to the Greek, located the word, and indeed the word is Greek for illness The play clearly demonstrates a recognition of mental illness being a legitimate sickness, and this was 2500 years before Freud Further, as we look into other Greek literature, particularly Plato, we discover that there were systems in place that were designed to assist people suffering from mental illness this being called the Therapy of the Soul It appears that not only did the Greeks recognise mental illness, but also recognised the need and a system in an attempt to cure it However, if we consider this play and Heracles we notice that the Greeks seemed to believe that the origin of mental illness was divine This is not necessarily limited to the Greeks though since we see episodes of psychosis in the Bible and a recognition that demonic forces can be behind it The main incident that I refer to is the story of Legion, where a man was banished to the wastelands because he was possessed by a legion of demons, and Jesus comes along, cures him, and casts the demons into a herd of pigs In Greek tragedy, mental illness comes about from the gods fogging the mind of the victim Athena fogs Ajax s mind in an attempt to prevent him from killing Odysseus, and Madness descends upon Herakles since he had completed his tasks, and the prohibition from harming him had been lifted This is why I love to study the ancients It is not because of my love of antiquity, but because it is clear that they were muchintelligent and switched on than we give them credit for In Shakespeare s time, while there was a recognition of mental illness King Lear suffers from a Major Depressive Disorder while Hamlet shows elements of psychosis, despite the fact that he is faking it However, it is accepted and unchangeable We see no attempt by Shakespeare to attempt to address it though there are elements looking at their underlying causes However we cannot forget that, with the exception of King Lear, the other madnesses that come to mind Titus Andronicus and Hamlet the madness is faked.I recently saw a performance of this play where it was set in modern day Iraq My thoughts on this production can be found on my blog this series, The Greek Tragedy in New Translations, pairs scholars these guys seem to be really hardcore about their convictions regarding quality translations, it s funny because i on this series, The Greek Tragedy in New Translations, pairs scholars poets for bangin translations of plays by aeschylus, euripides, sophocles, etc the editors foreword itself got me pretty psyched these guys seem to be really hardcore about their convictions regarding quality translations, i m totally going to check out some others.that said, in this translation pevear steps down from bein all scholarly like lets herbert golder do that work, omg does he ever it s funny because i only picked this out because of pevear, golder s contributions are what really got me i don t even want to say anything about the play cuz hg s so sexy it makes me feel a little dumb, in a way i just might like mmm.but ANYWAY, i guess i have to read the iliad now which is WAY LAME cuz i gots stuff to do, world i think i like sophocles better than aeschylus, tho i should probably readbefore i make these decisions still a toss up between sophocles euripides.i leave you w this magic from the end s epic shit talking session MENELAOSI saw a man once whose bold talkhad pressed a ship s crew to set sailin winter A storm broke, the wavespiled higher and higher, and hegrew quieter and quieter, huddledin the stern under his cloak The sailorsstepped on him in the confusionand he said nothing at all.So, if a great storm blows upfrom a small cloud, it may silenceyour big voice in the same way.TEUKROSI, too, saw a man once, fullof his own stupidity, who insultedhis neighbors in their grief.Someone who looked like me, and was like me in temper, warned him Man, do not outrage the dead.If you do, it will be your own ruin So the fool was told to his face.I can still see him now I thinkhe s none other than you, Menelaos Am I talking in riddles OH SNAP

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