Ajax

ISBN-10: 1935238930

ISBN-13: 9781935238935

Edition: 2010

Authors: Sophocles, Ian Johnston, Ian Crowe

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Sophocles (c. 496 BC to 406 BC), the great Athenian tragic dramatist, wrote Ajax early in his career, perhaps around 440 BC. It is one of the seven plays which survive from the more than one hundred and twenty plays Sophocles wrote. Ajax presents the story of the final day in the life of one of the most glorious heroes from the world of the Iliad, the great Ajax, king of Salamis, the finest warrior after Achilles, who is driven mad by the gods, commits unspeakable atrocities, and then must face up to what he has done, particularly to the shame he must now encounter from his colleagues and his family. How can a hero who has always lived by the traditional heroic code continue living after such a disgrace? Ajax's resolution of this problem is one of the very greatest scenes in tragic drama. In the character of Odysseus, Ajax's great enemy, Sophocles also explores how a society which has moved beyond the heroic age should deal with such disasters. Ian Johnston new translation is an accurate and fluent rendition of Sophocles' text, especially suitable for dramatic production
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Book details

Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: Richer Resources Publications
Publication date: 1/1/2010
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 70
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.198
Language: English

The Greek dramatist Sophocles, born to a wealthy family at Colonus, near Athens, was admired as a boy for his personal beauty and musical skill. He served faithfully as a treasurer and general for Athens when it was expanding its empire and influence. In the dramatic contests, he defeated Aeschylus in 468 b.c. for first prize in tragedy, wrote a poem to Herodotus (see Vol. 3), and led his chorus and actors in mourning for Euripides just a few months before his own death. He wrote approximately 123 plays, of which 7 tragedies are extant, as well as a fragment of his satiric play, Ichneutae (Hunters). His plays were produced in the following order: Ajax (c.450 b.c.), Antigone (441 b.c.), Oedipus Tyrannus (c.430 b.c.), Trachiniae (c.430 b.c.), Electra (between 418 and 410 b.c.), Philoctetes (409 b.c.), and Oedipus at Colonus (posthumously in 401 b.c.). With Sophocles, Greek tragedy reached its most characteristic form. He added a third actor, made each play independent---that is, not dependent on others in a trilogy---increased the numbers of the chorus, introduced the use of scenery, shifted the focus from religious to more philosophical issues, and brought language and characters, though still majestic, nearer to everyday life. His finely delineated characters are responsible for the tragedy that befalls them, and they accept it heroically. Aristotle (see Vols. 3, 4, and 5) states that Sophocles said he portrayed people as they ought to be; Euripides, as they are. His utter command of tragic speech in the simple grandeur of his choral odes, dialogues, and monologues encourages the English reader to compare him to Shakespeare (see Vol. 1).

Ian Johnston is currently an independent scholar pursuing a lifelong passion for ancient languages.

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