StudentShare solutions
Triangle menu

Thought, Force and Selfishness in Ajax and Prometheus Bound - Essay Example

Nobody downloaded yet

Extract of sample
Thought, Force and Selfishness in Ajax and Prometheus Bound

Sophocle's Ajax is a mighty Greek warrior in the time of the Trojan war, second only to Achilles in "perfect prowess" (Sophocles, Ajax 1415). His wife is "spear-won", and his entire presence on stage is marked by Hector's bloody sword, a room-full of "sword-slain cattle", or his "self-dealt wound". After Achilles' death, a competition is set up between him and Odysseus over who will inherit Achilles' armor, symbolizing the inheritance of the latter's prized status. When the Atreidae decide that Odysseus should get the armor, instead of humbly accepting the judges' decision, Ajax's pride over his power and valor spurs him in revenge against Agamemnon and Menelaus, a wild act that is only thwarted by the duplicitous intervention of Athena, the patron goddess of Odysseus. She drives Ajax mad and instead of massacring the Atreidae, he slaughters cattle instead. The double humiliation and the rancor that he has stirred up in the Greek camp against him drive him to commit suicide.
Ajax's actions-both the madness-inducing revenge, and his suicide-show not only a lack of wisdom but selfish pride in his lust for power. Despite his wife's pleas not to do anything rash and so cause her and his son to become slaves and to be mistreated by the Greeks, he only responds by insulting her - "Woman, silence graces women" (Ajax 292) - and deceiving her and his friends (Chorus) about his suicidal intentions: "I feel the keen edge of my temper softened by yon woman's words; and I feel the pity of leaving her a widow with my foes, and the boy and orphan" (652). His brother Teucer bemoans the taunts and the revilement that he will receive both at home and abroad because of Ajax's selfish act (1020-2), and the Chorus the future lack of protection that "bold Ajax" provided for him (1214).
Ajax's pride in his might is such that he is unable to weigh the effect of his actions on others, and sees everyone else as less than himself (even king Odysseus). Furthermore, we see that it is selfish pride and arrogance that instigates Athena against him, as he spoke arrogantly against her, which is not befitting of his place as a mortal. The messenger reveals that "Ajax, even at his first going forth from home, was found foolish" (760), and when his father encouraged him with the wisdom of his years, "haughtily and foolishly he answered: 'I, even without [the gods'] aid, trust to bring glory within my grasp'" (770). More foolhardily, he spurned the help of the goddess Athena, thinking that he is mighty enough to win any battle as, "where Ajax stands, battle will never break our line" (776). The messenger rightly concludes that Ajax's "thoughts were too great for man" (788). Ajax's downfall or hubris then is that he is nothing more than an empty-headed muscle man, a dangerous combination of force and lack of intelligence.
Throughout the play, Ajax's use of force is misplaced: against the "poor sheep", in his language to Tecmessa, and against himself. Regaining his right mind, he bemoans: "Seest thou the bold, the strong of heart, the dauntless in battles with the foe,-seest thou how I have shown my prowess on creatures that feared no harm" (364-6). While we can say that the first instance of misused force is as a result of Athena's intervention, his brutish manner to his wife and his suicide are done when he is in full ...Show more


Greek mythology is famous for its tyrannical gods who care little about benevolence and goodness. In addition, the literary tradition and culture that spawned it has always placed an emphasis on knowledge and heroic power, ranking both attributes as among the most important for a god or man to possess…
Author : wade79
Thought, Force and Selfishness in Ajax and Prometheus Bound essay example
Read Text Preview
Save Your Time for More Important Things
Let us write or edit the essay on your topic
"Thought, Force and Selfishness in Ajax and Prometheus Bound"
with a personal 20% discount.
Grab the best paper

Check these samples - they also fit your topic

However, it was the son of Themis, a Titan by the name of Prometheus that stole fire from Zeus and passed it down to the cavemen. For trying to change the life of human beings, Prometheus was harshly punished and this paper is thus a reflection of whether or not the Titan was justified in passing on fire to humanity, and how the punishment that was bestowed upon him was of equal suitability or not.
3 pages (750 words) Essay
Contrasting Frankenstein and Prometheus
Contrasting Frankenstein and Prometheus The subtitle of the first edition of the epic book ‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelly was ‘The Modern Prometheus’; this was not because Prometheus and Frankenstein shared analogous personality traits, but because they shared the same fate for almost parallel reasons.
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
Ajax Minerals and Perrier
Ajax has in the past made the mistake of making critical changes which affected the employees in serious ways. This was done without making a point of informing the employees in time and also failing to involve them in the development of the solution.
6 pages (1500 words) Essay
Is the punishment of Prometheus in Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound just or unjust How does the play itself define justice
This paper asserts that the punishment is unjust, even as the play itself defines justice in one sense along the lines of what is just in the mind of Zeus, who can never do wrong. Justice in the play in this first sense consists in the will of the gods and in particular the will of Zeus, and how the actions of the rest depend on whether they are in accordance with what Zeus wants and wills.
9 pages (2250 words) Essay
Homeward Bound
But I am all alone in my compartment, and as is usually the case in this wonderful world of ours there is nobody to listen. Therefore I am going to write down what happened and leave my narrative for the next solitary occupant of this compartment. Do what you will reader, whoever you may be but remember I need you to know that I may be rude and singularly obnoxious but I am also truthful and more importantly, completely sane despite evidence to the contrary you may find in the ensuing lines.
2 pages (500 words) Essay
About Prometheus Bound
To have absolute power is to master the circumstance and all it encompasses. Zeus, the recently appointed God of all Gods, reigns supreme over the lands of man and is quick to punish those who defy him. Prometheus, God of forethought, denied that Zeus held an absolute power because he envisioned the overthrowing of the God.
2 pages (500 words) Essay
Compare and Contrast the theme of Thought, Force and Selfeshness within Ajax and Prometheus Bound
It is no small wonder then that many Greek tragedians engage with this theme in different ways. In the plays Ajax and Prometheus Bound, the tragedians examine the ways in which both gods and mortals use and abuse power, and the correlation between
8 pages (2000 words) Essay
TMA01 Prometheus
In fact, as we will discuss during the course of this paper, they were heroes. The Penguin dictionary’s description of Prometheus falls rather flat. According to them, he is a joint ruler of Colophon who accidentally kills his brother, flees, and
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Prometheus Bound
y who loved human beings and always sought to help human beings, Prometheus had decided to give human beings a gift that the human beings had been denied by the ruling god, Zeus; this gift was the gift of fire. Fire was deemed sacred to the gods, and the ruling god Zeus
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
It has proven hard for many to figure out the actual intent of the movie given that the film merely spells everything in it. While a few of the people appreciate the mythological themes in it, the majority are for its
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Get a custom paper written
by a pro under your requirements!
Win a special DISCOUNT!
Put in your e-mail and click the button with your lucky finger
Your email
Comments (0)
Rate this paper:
Thank you! Your comment has been sent and will be posted after moderation