Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Advent of PluralismDiversity and Conflict in the Age of Sophocles$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Lauren J. Apfel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199600625

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199600625.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 October 2021

Ajax: moral certainty

Ajax: moral certainty

(p.240) VII Ajax: moral certainty
The Advent of Pluralism

Lauren J. Apfel

Oxford University Press

This chapter turns attention towards Sophocles' Ajax, particularly in light of Homeric precedents. It argues that Ajax personifies a strong link between heroism and the monistic style of decision‐making that is typical of the Iliad. More than that, Ajax is an exaggerated form of the Iliadic hero, one who gives even less credence to conflicting considerations when presented with a dilemma and experiences even less regret or loss as a result. Sophocles' entire portrait of Ajax, including the deception speech, works to illustrate the supreme moral certainty that drives the choices the hero makes. This certainty, it is contended, is in large part the root of his tragedy. The chapter then discusses the relationship between Ajax and Odysseus. While Ajax is not a play that hinges on a moral clash between characters, this inchoate ethical disagreement harks back in an important way to the Homeric division between Achilles and Odysseus and is, in the last analysis, incommensurable.

Keywords:   Ajax, Iliadic hero, Homer, monism, heroism, dilemma, deception speech, Odysseus, Achilles

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .