Odysseus, appearing only at the beginning and at the
2 V. 75 “οὐ σῖγ᾽ ἀνέξει μηδὲ δειλίαν ἀρεῖ;” M. Patin (Sophocle, p. 11) remarks that this passage has been much censured, as if it defamed Odysseus; whereas that very pursuit of Ajax, in which he is engaged, sufficiently attests his courage. That is true; but we must also allow, I think, that the alarm of Odysseus is so described that it might easily raise a smile (see, e.g., v. 88 “μένοιμ᾽ ἄν: ἤθελον δ᾽ ἂν ἐκτὸς ὢν τυχεῖν”). There was a tendency in post-Homeric poetry to depict Odysseus, the representative of “φρόνησις”, as subordinating valour to discretion; (see Introd. to the Philoctetes p. xvii, xxxi;) though in Sophocles this tendency is controlled by a delicate tact. Here, the dramatic motive for the trepidation of Odysseus is to bring into stronger relief all that is terrible in the condition of Ajax.
3 Vv. 68—70.
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