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‘Therefore sinc…

April 2, 2013

‘Therefore since you witness his fate, see that you yourself never utter an arrogant word against the gods, nor assume any swelling pride, if in the scales of fate you are weightier than another in strength of hand or in depth of ample wealth. For a day can press down all human things, and a day can raise them up. But the gods embrace men of sense and abhor the evil.’ (Sophocles Ajax 126-30)

This is a quote from the character of Athena in Sophocles’ Ajax. Athena is speaking to Odysseus after Ajax has been onto the stage declaring his victory in taking revenge against the leaders of the Greek army at Troy. However, Athena has tricked Ajax into thinking a herd of sheep were the Greek leaders and instead. Ajax has killed some sheep and taken others as captives particularly a ram whom he believes is Odysseus.

Athena inflicts this punishment on Ajax because of his hubris in denying her help during battle claiming that he does not need the assistance of a god. The statement that Sophocles has the character of Athena say is a warning to people of the dangers of pride and arrogance.


From → Greek Tragedy

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