Sophocles' Ajax and Philoctetes

by Christophe Simpson


  • Was Born in 496
  • Tragedian
  • One of three Greek tragedians whose work became extant
  • Wrote 123 Plays
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Cir. 409 BC

Philoctetes is left by his fellow Greek Soldiers on Lemnos from a wound. Now Odysseus is back for his only weapon of defense. Odysseus utilizes Neoptolemus as his ploy to take the bow of Heracles away from him. Neoptolemus fails to get the bow and in turn tries to convince Philoctetes to go back to Greece. He refuses but Heracles convinces him to go back for a Grand Prophecy

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  • Written by Sophocles around cir. 430 BC
  • Ajax is shamed by losing the Arms of Achilles to Odysseus
  • Tries to take Revenge on Greek Leadership, fails because of the delusion of Athena
  • His delusion eats his soul and eventually he kills himself on his sword
  • Importance over decision of burial
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Overall Thesis

  • Both Heroes were marginalized, but these heroes were defined by how they dealt with it rather than the amount pity shown towards them
  • Philoctetes used it as inspiration to perservere, while Ajax deluded himself and paid the ultimate price