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.
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