Ajax

Sophocles

Sophocles, creator; Sophocles the plays and fragments with critical notes, commentary, and translation in English prose Part 7 The Ajax; Jebb, Richard Claverhouse, Sir, 1841-1905, editor, translator. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1893.

  1. Men who act as you do are the unstable sort in humankind.
Odysseus
  1. Quite the majority of men, I assure you, are friendly at one time, and bitter at another.
Agamemnon
  1. So then, are these the type of friends that you recommend we make?
Odysseus
  1. It is not my habit to recommend an inflexible spirit.
Agamemnon
  1. You will make us appear to be cowards today.
Odysseus
  1. On the contrary, we will be men of justice in the eyes of all the Greeks.
Agamemnon
  1. Then do you truly urge me to allow the burying of the dead?
Odysseus
  1. Yes, for I too shall come to that necessity.
Agamemnon
  1. How true it is that in all things alike each man works for himself!
Odysseus
  1. And for whom should I work more than for myself?
Agamemnon
  1. It must be called your doing then, not mine.
Odysseus
  1. However you do it, in all respects you will at least prove beneficent.
Agamemnon
  1. In any case, be quite certain that to you I would grant a larger favor than this. To that man, however, as on earth, so below I give my hatred. But you can do what you will.
Chorus
  1. Whoever denies, Odysseus, that you were born wise in judgment
  2. is a total fool since you have shown it just now.
Odysseus
  1. And now I announce that from this point on I am ready to be Teucer’s friend as much as I was once his enemy. And I would like to join in the burying of your dead and share your labors, omitting no service
  2. which mortals should render to their best and bravest warriors.
Teucer
  1. Good Odysseus, I have only praise for your words. You have greatly belied my fears. Of all the Greeks you were his deadliest enemy, and yet you alone have stood by him with helping hand and did not come here and allow yourself in life
  2. to violate the dead Ajax ruthlessly, as did the crazed general who came, since he and his brother wanted to cast out the outraged corpse without burial. Therefore may the Father supreme on Olympus above us,
  3. and the unforgetting Fury and Justice the Fulfiller destroy them for their wickedness with wicked deaths, just as they sought to cast this man out with unmerited, outrageous mistreatment. But you, progeny of aged Laertes, I hesitate to permit you to touch the corpse in burial,