Essay On Suicide In Ajax

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Sophocles’ play Ajax deals with the story of Ajax’s suicide, and the reactions that come before and after the act has taken place. The reason for Ajax’s suicide is in response to his failed attempt to kill the Greek leaders. However, this does not make Ajax’s suicide justifiable and would have been more acceptable to continue living yet this does not make him entirely to blame due to the prophecy given. This can be shown by examining the effect his suicide has on his family, the cowardliness that can be seen in escaping life, and the avoidance of responsibility to the Greeks and accountability for his actions. Together, these points display how suicide was not the only option for Ajax, that he could have chosen to keep living even with the …show more content…
Some would consider Ajax’s suicide to be a heroic one, in line with his heroic ethics. This is due to the belief that honour and prestige can only be granted by one’s community, who Ajax has alienated in his actions . With honour and prestige being important to Homeric heroes, it is easy to believe that Ajax is justified in his death. Laurence mentions that the only courageous act Ajax could perform at this stage was in performing his own death . However, this view neglects the courage in attempting to forge new prestige after losing it, to face a community that derides him. It also misses the cowardliness of escaping said scorn and abandoning his family to their fates without him for his own damaged pride. Tecmessa mentions in her argument that she deserves to have her favour returned, using charis as a reason to stay alive to return the favour to her after all the love and care she has given him . She also mentions that he’d be unable to do anything about the ridicule she would receive, being the former concubine of Ajax and the shame that would extend to him . In death, Ajax will be unable to do anything to stop the slander against Tecmessa and himself. Ajax commits suicide because of his humiliation and unwillingness to be seen as a coward for choosing to live rather than summoning the courage to die . Ajax only views the situation from this angle and refuses to acknowledge that …show more content…
Menelaus and Agamemnon try to deny a burial for Ajax in response of his attempt to kill them . This comes as a response due Ajax already being dead by his own hand and thus all they can do to punish him now is to deny him a proper burial. Ajax avoids not only punishment by committing suicide but also avoids taking any responsibility for what he did and tried to do. It could be argued that Ajax did get his punishment from being dishonoured and ending his life but he did not take responsibility or acknowledge that trying to kill the Greek leaders was wrong of him. Had he done so, this could have given more justification to his suicide. Ajax has no regrets in his attempted murders, instead praying to the Furies to take vengeance on the Atreides in his final moments . His failure to account for the gravity of his actions is eluded to in the play, he prays to Zeus that is Teucer who finds his corpse first but instead it is Tecmessa who discovers his body (though his intentions are still performed) . Ajax struggles to come to terms with the s world, one shifting from Homeric heroism to darker times where wit is more valuable than brute strength. Rather than trying to adapt into this new world, Ajax rejects it and does the only thing he can do to gain honour in his worldview, a dignified suicide on his terms . He refuses to play along with the

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