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The Ajax DilemmaJustice, Fairness, and Rewards$
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Paul Woodruff

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199768615

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199768615.001.0001

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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: 16 October 2021

The Storytellers

The Storytellers

(p.75) The Storytellers
The Ajax Dilemma

Paul Woodruff

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the main characters in the present retelling of Ajax's story: Odysseus, Agamemnon, Nestor, and Tecmessa. Odysseus is a man of deep reverence and compassion. Compassion comes easily to him because he has no principles, which are an obstacle to compassion. Agamemnon speaks for justice as he understands it from his position as king and commander in chief. Stories about the Trojan War present him as having features later associated with tyrants: selfish, afraid of rebellion from the ranks, and a poor loser. Nestor is the proverbial wise old man of the story. He imagines that he understands justice in terms of procedures governed by principles of fairness. Tecmessa is a woman of uncommon intelligence, bravery, and resource. She illustrates the human cost of the passion for justice as Agamemnon understands it, but she is never a passive victim.

Keywords:   Ajax, Odysseus, Agamemnon, Nestor, Tecmessa

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