This chapter first distinguishes between clemency, pity, and compassion. It then discusses how Tecmessa and Odysseus both feel compassion for Ajax and how they use it in different ways. Odysseus's compassion holds him back from action upon seeing Ajax in his rage. Tecmessa's compassion rises from her ability to recognize the feelings of others. Because of her compassion, she understands Ajax's feelings along with those of the commanders. She realizes that only justice—and not compassion—may be considered a reason for giving her husband the armor. The chapter also considers how laws often come into conflict with compassion.
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