Une polémique tragique : le second volet de l'Ajax de Sophocle

Abstract : The dispute over Ajax's burial has wrongly been criticized as irrelevant and undramatic. In fact, it increases the tragic of the play, because a collective drama is added to the individual one : the nature of the hero does not succeed in being really integrated by a society which will however give him a cult. The verbal struggle leads to a total loss. The Atridae's useless words show that the traditional authority, whether it is founded on fear or on an apparent justice, is not able to assume an individuality which is abnormal but very actual and worthy of recognition, so that their credibility and their identity are seriously spoiled by this check. The restoration of Ajax's honour by Odysseus is based on completely relativistic values and is just a formal reply to the specific problem which is set by the huge hero. As for Ajax himself, the kleos which is given to [384] him is the contrary of all that for the sake of which he is dead. This glory is not the result of a natural consensus, but it is conceded to him by his worst enemy, who grounds it on the acceptance of an idea always rejected by him : human nothingness. Therefore, the apparent peace which closes the tragedy does not hide the completeness of the disaster.
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Fabienne Blaise. Une polémique tragique : le second volet de l'Ajax de Sophocle. Revue des études grecques, Les Belles Lettres, 1999, 112, pp.383-408. ⟨hal-01588865⟩

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