COLLOQUIUM: Sheila Murnaghan, UPENN, "Selective Memory and Epic Reminiscence in Sophocles’ Ajax"

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm

402 Cohen Hall

Focusing on the moment of the hero’s death, Sophocles’ Ajax offers a brief, concentrated portrait of a variable, contested figure with diverse identities in epic and cult.  Competing conceptions of Ajax are incorporated into the play as the characters position its action in relation to previous events and earlier traditions, making it the culmination of different narratives with significantly different starting points: for Ajax and Teucer, an Iliadic narrative that begins with Ajax’ duel with Hector; for Odysseus, a post-Iliadic narrative that begins with the contest for Achilles’ armor; and for Calchas, a non-Homeric Salaminian narrative that begins with Ajax’ departure from home.