The ancient Greek playwright, Sophocles, is best known for his stirring tragedies that include masterworks such as Antigone, Oedipus and Ajax.
Ajax, written in 447 B.C., follows the events of Homer’s Iliad and centers on the disgraced Greek hero for which the play is named.
Ajax, in a state of shame and despair, prepares himself for suicide, the path that he deems the only honorable end to his dire set of circumstances. In response his wife, Tecmessa, passionately pleas for him to change his mind by appealing, in part, to the orphan status that his son, Eurysakes, would receive as a result:
"Pity him (your son) the great sorrow which at your death you will bequeath both to him and to me. If robbed of nurturing care he must spend his days apart from you, an orphan tended by guardians who are neither family nor friends."
From: Sophocles. The Ajax of Sophocles, verse 510, Edited with introduction and notes by Sir Richard Jebb. Sir Richard Jebb. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press. 1893.
To be continued…