Ajax

Front Cover
Flood Editions, Feb 15, 2008 - Drama - 112 pages
1 Review
Written in the fifth century B.C., Sophocles' tragedy concerns the shame and death of Ajax, a Greek who had won fame for his prodigious strength in the Trojan War. A brutal farewell to the valor and values of the heroic world, the play moves through a series of reversals: old allies become enemies, honor becomes disgrace, and divine power becomes temporal authority. Formally terse, this translation conveys the force and urgency of Sophocles' Greek. Indeed, as Tipton suggests in his afterword, the tragedy has renewed relevance for our times: "Ajax demands our attention, not only for its clear-eyed account of the bitter aftermath of victory but also for its treatment of unscrupulous politics." "...everywhere in this translation there is the sense that Tipton, surely, in part, because of the unique formal constraints he has placed upon himself, has looked closely into rather than simply at Sophocles' Greek, has locked eyebrows with the old Aegean dramatist." Stanley Lombardo, from the Foreword

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Ajax (Translations from Greek Drama)

User Review  - Michael Green - Goodreads

In this play Ajax and Odysseus and their respective speeches are AMAZING. It gave me so much respect for Greek characters I felt were kind of shit before. Their lines were great. But, the overall ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2008)

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).

Bibliographic information