A suspenseful and necessary new translation of Sophocles' provocative drama that demystifies the death of a warrior and challenges the civic value of Greece's heroic legacy
Achilles is dead. Aias, Greece's next greatest warrior, should inherit his armor, but Agamemnon and Menelaos award it to Odysseus. Enraged, Aias sets out to kill them all, but Athena deludes him into slaughtering the war spoil of the Greek army: defenseless sheep, goats, oxen, and herdsmen. When Aias realizes what he has done, his shame is irremediable. His only recourse is one final, desperate act that will leave all who depended on him to fend for themselves. In place of a heroic ethos in which everyone relies on one towering individual, the survivors embrace a social ethos based on the interdependence of all—including, here, a speechless child.
In this masterful translation, James Scully puts readers and actors in touch with the performative dynamism of the drama, which resonates with issues crucial to our own time. This rendering enables the emotions and arguments of Sophocles' era to register on the pulse of a contemporary audience.