The Infrapolitical Question in Greek Tragedy

Humberto González Núñez
The University of Texas at Dallas

Volume 15, 2024

La tragedia griega es una pregunta sobre los fundamentos mismos del Ser.”

Octavio Paz, El arco y la lira 206

As we know, tragedy opens after disasters have already occurred, and nothing is left to be shown but the conditions that precipitated them. In Greece such a knowledge historically preceded all doctrine of principles, and it is still necessary for us to retain it as the knowledge of a transgressive counter-strategy at work in every strategy that legislates simply.”

Reiner Schürmann, Broken Hegemonies

One of the most enduring legacies of Reiner Schürmann’s thought, especially in the context of his final work, Broken Hegemonies, is the consistent attempt to think through the experience of diremption through which principles are both instituted and destituted. Schürmann’s commitment to staying with the twofold movement of institution and destitution is a result of his intent to think through what he calls the tragic condition, which he describes as “always a result of a double bind [une double prescription].” (Broken Hegemonies, 3; Des hégémonies brisées, 9). Even though our current historical epoch has revealed the fragility of principial forms of thinking, Schürmann believes that this fundamental insecurity has an immemorial past that can be clearly appreciated in, for instance, ancient Greek tragedy. The three main ancient Greek tragedians—Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides—each confront us with representations of the difficulty of an irreducible tragic differend at the core of human existence.

Schürmann’s attention to the privileged role of ancient Greek tragedy in revealing the double bind through which principles are both instituted and destituted is a significant theme throughout Broken Hegemonies. One of the most well-known references to ancient Greek tragedy in the “General Introduction” is to the figure of Antigone whose tragic situation Schürmann describes in the following manner:

Antigone owes allegiance both to the rules of familial piety and to civil laws. The double bind [La double contrainte] of family-city remains inescapable (at least until the appearance of the modern state and its apology, the dialectic of objective Spirit), and the tragic differend remains unsolvable. Antigone ends up broken [brisée], not exactly by disparate laws but—as we shall see—singularized under one law, through a withdrawal toward the other.

(Broken Hegemonies, 3–4; Des hégémonies brisées, 9–10)

Schürmann’s reference to Antigone in this passage recalls not only the well-known depiction found in Sophocles’ titular play, but also the equally familiar philosophical interpretation of it by G. W. F. Hegel in the Phenomenology of Spirit. It’s worth noting the significant contrast suggested by Schürmann between the tragic depiction of Antigone’s situation and the philosophical attempt to subsume it under a dialectical progression toward resolution. Hegel’s interpretation of Antigone provides the foundation for the appearance of the modern state and the progression of objective Spirit, but at the substantial cost of Antigone’s life. Needless to say, Antigone’s fate does not substantially change in the tragic rendition of it found in Sophocles’ play. However, Schürmann suggests that Sophocles’ version of Antigone’s life and death does not avoid directly confronting the unsolvable tension represented by the double bind. On the contrary, the tragic depiction of Antigone’s passion tries to remain with the fragmented existence of the one broken by the differend.

While Antigone remains a privileged figure throughout Schürmann’s Broken Hegemonies, it is equally worth mentioning that the figures of ancient Greek tragedy never cease to multiply throughout the entire work. For instance, Schürmann writes,

Aeschylus and Sophocles leave the archaic site, where subsequent philosophers will locate consoling and consolidating referents, empty. They address to these sites questions without response, and thus remain forever ahead of us. In the silence which they portray – which settles over waning modernity [la modernité finissante] as a result of a different knowledge [un savoir autre] – there speaks loudly the differing [le différend].

(Broken Hegemonies, 197; Des hégémonies brisées, 237–38)

By drawing on the resources of ancient Greek tragedy, it could be argued that one of Schürmann’s overall goal in Broken Hegemonies is to recover the disorienting sense of the tragic introduced by Aeschylus and Sophocles to the age-old philosophical debate concerning the doctrine of principles. While the philosophical search for principles has developed in such a way that ignores any possibility of rupture and discontinuity, Schürmann’s thought forces us to confront the unsettling way in which a recognition of the tragic condition thrusts us into a “different knowledge” [un savoir autre] that ought to be understood both as forever ahead of us and situated in an immemorial past that we must work toward reactivating for the purposes of thinking our present.

From Oedipus to Antigone, Achilles to Agamemnon, Creon to Odysseus, the various proper names of ancient Greek tragedy provide us with different forms of tragic knowledge. However, it is worth noting that tragic knowledge can take at least two forms in Schürmann’s interpretation. On the one hand, tragic knowledge can be acknowledged as a constitutive dimension of existence that reminds us of the co-constitutive character of institution and destitution. On the other hand, the tragic condition can be denied and therefore lead to an experience of tragic being that the ancient Greeks described as hubris. If Antigone represents the first option (i.e., of tragic knowledge acknowledged and affirmed), then we should turn to Schürmann’s remarks on the figure of Agamemnon to elucidate the tragic denial leading toward hubris. Drawing on the depiction of Agamemnon found in Aeschylus’ Orestia, Schürmann suggests that Agamemnon’s hubris is most clearly represented in the constant political justifications given by the king to justify his actions (e.g., the sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia) (Broken Hegemonies, 26–28; Des hégémonies brisées, 38–40).

Drawing on Schürmann’s remarks in the “General Introduction” to Broken Hegemonies, I would like to extend his insight into the “different knowledge” [savoir autre] introduced by ancient Greek tragedy. I argue that this “different knowledge” is represented by Antigone whose contrast with Agamemnon is essential. If Agamemnon’s tragic denial leads to hubris, then I suggest that Antigone’s tragic affirmation leads down another, more obscure path that is closely associated to this other kind of knowledge. To further emphasize this contrast, it would be worth recalling that Agamemnon’s hubris appears to be directly associated to his attempt to overcome fate [tuchê] through the means of political calculation. However, as we know from the dénouement of Aeschylus’ Orestia, Agamemnon’s fate is sealed as soon as he decides out of political machination to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia for the sake of a temporary victory in battle. In contrast, Antigone’s decision equally results in her demise, albeit with an important difference. Antigone does not fall into the hubris of considering herself capable of overcoming her fate. On the contrary, Antigone accepts her fate as the decision of her action to decisively confront the insolvable double bind of family-State. To further illustrate this contrast, I suggest that we refer to Antigone’s action as a decisively infrapolitical one, which ought to be understood in contrast to Agamemnon’s politics.

By describing Antigone’s action as infrapolitical, I am following the interpretation suggested by Alberto Moreiras in Infrapolitics: A Handbook, which argues that Antigone is an infrapolitical figure if there ever was one (xii). My use of the term “infrapolitics,” which follows the one developed by Moreiras, is a way of attempting to make sense of Antigone’s perplexing decision to do politics otherwise. Drawing on Sophocles’ depiction of Antigone, it is worth recalling that her decision to bury her brother, Polynices, is understood by the tyrant, Creon, as a transgression of his edict, which prohibits any display of honor to be bestowed upon he who fought against the city of Thebes. As Moreiras suggests in the context of his remarks on Martin Heidegger’s interpretation of Antigone,1 “Politics is Creon’s doing, the headless and errant assertion of unhomely power lost in nonbeing, lost in the nothingness of administrative and ideological claims.” (60). According to Moreiras’ interpretation, Creon falls prey to the same form of hubris that Schürmann describes as the result of Agamemnon’s tragic denial. In contrast, Antigone’s decision gestures toward an excess or outside to politics that nonetheless casts a shadow over her action and determines her relationship to it.2 As Moreiras rightly notes, “Something in Antigone, in her character or existence, responds to the question of absolute knowledge by opening a path toward infrapolitics.” (7).3

In this essay, my goal is not to revisit the interpretation of Antigone as an infrapolitical figure extensively developed by Moreiras. Instead, my aim is to trace this infrapolitical current in ancient Greek tragedy as a way of further elucidating the various ways in which the tragic differend challenges us to re-think our relationship to politics and how to act politically otherwise. I argue that ancient Greek tragedy provides us with a fecund area for understanding this puzzling attitude toward politics that undermines the very foundations of politics as we conceive of it. In continuing to mine the resources of ancient Greek tragedy for illustrations of an infrapolitical historicity, it is worth noting that such a hermeneutic labor must be done with the utmost care. Although many figures in ancient Greek tragedy are subjected to a tragic double bind and differend, we have already mentioned how Schürmann distinguishes between the affirmation and denial of this condition. Even a casual overview of well-known figures in ancient Greek tragedy would reveal that some of these figures (e.g., Antigone, Odysseus, Neoptolemus, Achilles) assume this tragic differend, whereas others (e.g., Creon, Agamemnon, Menelaus) rarely do. However, my aim here is not that of creating an infrapolitical typology of ancient Greek tragic figures. Without denying that there is a potential multiplicity of infrapolitical tragic figures in ancient Greece, it is important to indicate these evocative examples always in a singular manner. Hence, the main objective of this essay is to suggest a way of recognizing how the tragic figures who acknowledge and affirm the tragic double bind do so by disclosing an infrapolitical space that withdraws from the political machination of turannos and opens a space for a different form of political action.

There is another reason for my interest in continuing to trace the infrapolitical question in ancient Greek tragedy. It has become commonplace in interpretations of ancient Greek tragedy to emphasize the explicitly political dimension of theater. More specifically, this interpretation of the political dimension of ancient Greek tragedy is further reinforced by the suggestion that “the Greek” idea of politics lays the foundations for our modern sense of political activity. As Heidegger suggests in his 1942 Summer Semester lecture course on Hölderlin’s “The Ister,” “Today—if one still reads such books at all—one can scarcely read a treatise or book on the Greeks without everywhere being assured that here, with the Greeks, “everything” is “politically” determined.” (The Ister 80). 4 While there is no denying that the ancient Greeks have played a crucial role in the development of Western political thought, I suggest that one should resist the urge to reduce them to this purely political function. Without wishing to deny their contribution to our political thinking, I argue that “the Greeks” have equally disclosed (albeit in a subtler, more nuanced way) a space of existence that is non-political, pre-political, other-than-political or, in short, infrapolitical, which seems fundamentally related to the tragic condition indicated by the double bind and the differend. As Moreiras suggests, the Western tradition continues to ignore the tragic experience of being and infrapolitical reflection offered by the figure of Antigone at its own peril.5 My goal in this essay is to defend the importance of this deconstructive retrieval of the Greeks in which they appear not simply as the founders of the Western understanding of the political, but also appear (in an equally decisive manner) as one of the first instances in which the infrapolitical aspect of human existence appears and becomes manifest.

In what follows, I would like to further elucidate the complex interweaving of political and infrapolitical existence in ancient Greek tragedy by way of an engagement with Nicole Loraux’s exceptional work. Although the work of many important French classicists (e.g., Jean-Pierre Vernant, Pierre-Vidal Naquet, and Marcel Détienne) have been useful for de-sedimenting and re-thinking our relationship to “the Greeks,”6 what specifically interests me in Loraux’s work is her recognition of the distinctly antipolitical character of ancient Greek tragedy.7 One of the major limits of the otherwise excellent work of Vernant, Naquet, and Détienne is the primacy of politics in ancient Greek life. One of the few exceptions to this prejudice can be found in Détienne’s discussion of ancient Greek politics in The Greeks and Us, which makes the following remarkable statement: “I could see no reason […] not to wipe the slate clean, or almost clean, in a word, not to reject all ready-made definitions of Politics.” (110).8 While Détienne’s preference is to wipe the slate almost clean by retaining a vestige of politics as first philosophy in ancient Greek thought, my approach in this essay is to follow the spirit of Détienne’s programmatic statement by wiping the slate entirely clean of all ready-made definitions of politics so as to uncover the infrapolitical space of existence that lies underneath them. My choice to engage directly with Loraux’s work is due to her conviction that one of the most significant aspects of ancient Greek tragedy is precisely what she refers to as its antipolitical contestation of politics.

Before continuing my critical dialogue with Loraux, it is important to clarify the difference in terminology between her notion of “antipolitics” and my notion of “infrapolitics.” Loraux develops the notion of “antipolitics” in her interpretation of tragedy in The Mourning Voice.9 One of the fascinating aspects of Loraux’s discussion of antipolitics is the way she develops her definition of the term in contrast to the overly political interpretations of ancient Greek tragedy. For instance, drawing on Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1965 adaptation of Euripides’ Trojan Women, Loraux draws attention to how Sartre’s political and moral presuppositions make their way into the translated text. While acknowledging a certain degree of translator’s bias, Loraux suggests that Sartre’s intervention qua translator leads to a substantial transformation of the text and a “systematic exaggeration” of Euripides’ message (9), especially when it comes to the political aim of presenting the plot of Trojan Women as a timely reflection on our contemporary situation. Drawing attention to the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles in both Algeria and Vietnam during the period of Sartre’s adaptation, Loraux identifies a strong political motivation for the translation and adaptation. Without denouncing the choice to translate and interpret ancient Greek texts with a consideration for current issues, Loraux’s broader point leads us to question whether Sartre’s political interpretation of Euripides leads to the distortion or forgetting of an essential aspect of ancient Greek tragedy. Put more forcefully, we could summarize Loraux’s critical reservations through the following question: Can ancient Greek tragedy ultimately be reduced to its political meaning?

By raising the question of the relation between tragedy and the polis, Loraux invites us to question whether the solicitation of the political carried through by ancient Greek tragedy is, in fact, ultimately political. To illustrate this point, Loraux recalls a simple albeit important observation regarding the relationship of the theater to the polis: “The theater of Dionysius is not in the Agora.” (14). By recalling the physical distance between the theater and the agora, Loraux invites us to reflect more intently on the relationship between the tragic representation of politics and the politics that takes place in the polis itself. Rather than understanding them as two aspects of what Loraux calls the “official discourse” of the city,10 she invites us to understand them as two separate, antithetical, and conflictual poles. According to Loraux, one of the reasons it is important to emphasize the dissension between tragedy and the polis is that it allows us to question the dominance of the political interpretation of ancient Greek tragedy. As Loraux herself puts it, “By making a distinction between theater and politics in this symbolic way, I wish to indicate from the outset a departure from the wholly political reading that have dominated studies of tragedy for several decades.” (The Mourning Voice: An Essay on Greek Tragedy 14). Loraux’s bold interpretation of ancient Greek tragedy decisively overturns and undermines the political assumptions of many contemporary approaches to the relationship between the theater and the polis. With the aid of Loraux’s rigorous analysis, we must ask ourselves:  If the theater is not even in the agora, then to what extent can we understand tragedy to be “political?” What other ways do we have of thinking through the distinction of the theater and the polis such that a potentially infrapolitical dimension of existence might appear?

Loraux’s remarks on the distance and difference between the theater and the polis invite us to reconsider the nature of their relationship. Although tragedy certainly comments on what takes place in the polis and, to that extent, can be understood as “political” in a specific (albeit limited) sense, I would argue that it would be too impulsive to reduce the role of tragedy to this political function. If Loraux is correct in suggesting that the theater of Dionysius was not in the agora, then we must conclude that the “political” function of ancient Greek tragedy is anything but straightforward. As Loraux herself point out, “theater, tragic theater at least, was also—and perhaps best—equipped to deal with issues that the citizens of Athens preferred to reject or ignore.” (15). Rather than functioning as a space where the Greeks could reassure themselves of the official discourse surrounding their politics, the theater appears as a space where something like the repressed appears to solicit and contest the very foundations of the polis. In this sense, Loraux is right to point out that the tragic theater was a space of separation.

Although conceiving of the theater as a space of separation seems somewhat paradoxical to us, the point, according to Loraux, was rather simple: “Instead of sharing the same space, the theater and assembly each left the common site of all public events in order to go separately into a place of its own.” (15-16). In other words, the theater provided the space for what one might describe as a communal separation from the polis that could perhaps be elucidated by way of the more contemporary attempts to think a retreat from the political understood in the sense described by Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy.11 A sharing of difference, if you will. In withdrawing from the space of the polis, the theater provided citizens with an alternate space of questioning, which was different from the polis—where the various tensions, ambiguities, and conflicts of politics were confronted, solicited, and questioned. Thus, Loraux concludes her preliminary remarks on the relationship between tragedy and politics with the following provocative formulation: “politics is not theater” and, perhaps more importantly, “tragedy is not only politics.” (16).

The aim of the preceding summary has been to show how Loraux’s interpretation of the relationship between tragedy and politics requires thinking through their important difference and separation from each other. There is no denying that Loraux’s interpretation of ancient Greek tragedy contains many resonances with the various attempts outlined earlier to discover something other than political in this genre. At this point in my summary of Loraux’s argument, I would like to return to the terminological difference between “antipolitics” and “infrapolitics.” Although these terms might appear to be polar opposite given their respective prefixes, a closer analysis of Loraux’s use of the term reveals that this is not the case. On the contrary Loraux begins her description of the meaning of the term “antipolitical” by noting that “it can designate the other of politics, but also another politics, no longer based on consensus and living together, but on what I call the “bond of division.”” (23). Loraux’s gloss on “antipolitics” provides an important opportunity to clarify the somewhat paradoxical yet decisive relationship between politics and its other. Loraux’s “antipolitics,” like my use of “infrapolitics,” signals not so much an abandonment of politics all together, but rather an attempt to think politics from its other. Instead of remaining within the sphere of politics as an already determined field, antipolitics and infrapolitics wagers for a retreat from the implementation of political calculation and administration in favor of a renewed engagement with that which appears to be outside of politics. Through this retreat from politics, antipolitics and infrapolitics, respectively, introduce a subtle modification of political activity and thinking that completely upends all ready-made definitions of politics. By abandoning the supposed ground of political thought and action, antipolitics and infrapolitics contribute to a re-definition of political and other-than-political existence.

Although the destruction of the grounds of conventional political thought and action seems to lead to the impossibility of politics as such, I argue that the antipolitical and infrapolitical deconstruction of the “as such” of politics opens an alternative space from which to develop a different relationship to politics. To illustrate this point, I would like to turn to Loraux’s specific examples of antipolitical attitudes, which provide a more concrete demonstration of the subtle modification of political thought and action that is at stake in antipolitics and infrapolitics. According to Loraux, “any behavior that diverts, rejects, or threatens, consciously or not, the obligations and prohibitions constituting the ideology of the city-state (which in turn creates and maintains civic ideology), is antipolitical.” (26).12 Understood in this sense, antipolitical attitudes challenge the ready-made official discourse of the city-state, which maintains the illusion of union, fusion, and synthesis through the propagation of civic ideology at the expense of the reality of division, dissension, and dispersion. Hence, we might say that tragedy’s antipolitical dimension does nothing but reveal the fantasmatic character of all official civic ideology.

With the aid of the preceding remarks, we have been able to firmly situate tragedy’s antipolitical effect within the framework of politics. However, there is also an important and absolute difference between tragedy and politics that Loraux has suggested throughout her analysis. To illustrate this point, Loraux offers the following insightful description:

We must acknowledge, however, that Dionysus enjoyed the turmoil of politics, since the very notion of “Dionysian politics,” which may sound like an oxymoron, presupposes a profound alteration, even a political metamorphosis. After that, how could anyone continue to claim that tragedy, by taking place in the theater of Dionysus, assumes a “predominantly” political character?


In exposing politics to this Dionysian and tragic element of tragedy, politics becomes entirely transfigured, transformed, and altered in its foundation. A Dionysian politics might very well be close to a non-politics, anti-politics or infrapolitics, especially if we recall the way in which Dionysus remains a deity of shrewdness, cunningness, and deviousness. Think, for instance, of Euripides’ representation of Dionysus in the Bacchae whereby the deity cunningly disguises himself from Pentheus so as to wreak havoc on the polis. While a Dionysian politics would inevitably involve a complete upheaval of politics as we might understand it, there remains the possibility that the rupture introduced by the Dionysian moment might allow us to recall a kind of other than politics, but also another politics that begins with the recognition of infrapolitics. In brief, my interest in tracing the emergence of infrapolitics in ancient Greek tragedy is an attempt to elucidate the constitutive ambiguity of a Dionysian form of politics that remains dangerously close to its other (i.e., its non-political, anti-political, infra-political excess or sub-cess).

To further elucidate this potential ambiguity introduced by the possibility of a Dionysian (anti- or infra-)politics, I would like to elaborate on an insight suggested in Loraux’s antipolitical interpretation of Sophocles’ Ajax. While Loraux’s interpretation astutely draws on the insights of her theorization of antipolitics, I argue that she falls short of the decisive insight toward infrapolitics insofar as her discussion of Sophocles’ Ajax fails to emphasize Odysseus’ decisive overturning of one of the fundamental pillars of ancient Greek political thought, namely, the friend/enemy distinction. In this sense, the following infrapolitical interpretation of Sophocles’ Ajax can be read as an important supplement to Loraux’s antipolitical reading, which can be read as an invitation to continue thinking through the deconstruction of politics in ancient Greek tragedy.13

Before critically engaging with Loraux’s antipolitical interpretation of Sophocles’ Ajax and its infrapolitical supplement, it is worth briefly recalling the context of the play.14 The play is meant to represent the conflict between Ajax and Odysseus in the aftermath of the great battles recounted in Homer’s Iliad. After the death of Achilles, one of the main conflicts dividing the soldiers is the question of who will become the rightful heir of Achilles’ weapons. Although the scene is not portrayed for us in Sophocles’ dramatization, the popular account narrates that both Ajax and Odysseus laid claim to the armor since the former contended that he has the most formidable warrior, whereas the latter is awarded them by Agamemnon and Menelaus because of Odysseus’ shrewdness in fighting the Trojans. After feeling that he has been wronged, Ajax proceeds to enter a fury and wishes to carry out his revenge on all who betrayed him.15 The drama continues when the goddess Athena comes to Odysseus’ rescue by casting a spell on Ajax, which makes him believe that he is slaughtering his fellow men in battle when in fact he has merely exterminated the cattle they took as their spoils of war.

After temporarily blinding Ajax, Athena asks Odyseeus upon seeing his misfortune: “And is laughing at one’s enemies [exthrous] not the most delightful [hêdistos] kind of laughter?” (Sop., Ajax, 79). Many scholars (including Loraux) draw attention to the fact that Athena’s comment here is meant to express the common Greek morality, which is perfectly conveyed in, for instance, the title of Mary Whitlock Blundell’s book, Helping Friends and Harming Enemies.16 Reflecting on the significance of this moral precept, one could argue that the phrase “helping friends and harming enemies” can be understood as one of the most succinct formulations of the Greek understanding of politics par excellence. Although it would be misguided to attempt to reduce the complexity of ancient Greek politics to a single phrase, there is no denying that this traditional moral precept expresses an essential aspect of ancient Greek political life—its guiding principle. The identity of the polis was built around the awareness of the benefits to be given to the friend and the animosity deserved by the enemy.

Loraux’s interest in this passage of Sophocles’ Ajax is not surprising, especially given that Athena’s question to Odysseus can be understood as fundamentally representing the stakes of the latent foundation of ancient Greek politics. Rather than following what would have seemed entirely commonplace to the Greek audience attending the play, Odysseus produces a complete reversal of expectation when, upon reflecting on Ajax’s misfortunes, he tells Athena that he would be content if Ajax merely stayed away (Sop., Ajax, 80). Even though Ajax is an enemy [exthros] both then and especially now [kai tanun eti] (Sop., Ajax, 78), Odysseus nonetheless remains unwilling to give into the all-too-political inclination of laughing at the misfortune of his enemy. Just like us, we could presume that, among the many reactions to this scene, there was no doubt much confusion and perplexity at Odysseus’ response.

Throughout his discussion with Athena, Odysseus constantly resists the urge to give into the inclination to mock his enemy. In response to Athena’s suggestion, Odysseus merely states: “I shall remain; but I wish I were not here [êthelon d’ an ektos ôn tuchein]” (Sop., Ajax, 88). Even though Odysseus wishes it were not his fate [tuchê] to remain there and behold Ajax’s misfortunes, it nonetheless provides him an important lesson that is not without consequences for the dénouement of the play. After her brief exchange with Ajax, Athena asks the son of Laertes: “Do you see, Odysseus, how great is the power of the gods [horas, Odusseu, tên theôn ischun hosê]?” (Sop., Ajax, 118). In the face of such a demonstration of power [ischun] on behalf of the gods, Odysseus offers his well-known lament, which Loraux emphasizes in her own commentary and can be read as one of the central aspects of the play:

I pity [epoiktirô] him in his misery [dustênon], though he is my enemy [kaiper onta dusmenê], because he is bound fast by a cruel affliction [atê sugkatexeuktai kakê], not thinking of his fate, but my own [toumon skopôn]; because I see that all of us [horô gar hêmas] who live [zômen] are nothing but ghosts [eidôl’], or a fleeting shadow [kouphên skian].

(Sop., Ajax, 121-6)

There are several things worth noting in Odysseus’ lamentation,17 beginning with the untranslatable wordplay between the words for describing Ajax’s misery [dustênon] and status as enemy [dusmenê]. It is worth drawing attention to Odysseus’ feeling of pity [oiktos] upon seeing Ajax, especially considering Loraux’s suggestion that pity might not be a political affect (The Mourning Voice: An Essay on Greek Tragedy, 50). According to both Loraux and Santiago Eslava-Bejarano, it is precisely Odysseus’ sense of compassion [epoiktirei] that allows him to see in Ajax something other than an enemy [dusmenês]. (52).18 It is through the strangely antipolitical affect of pity that Ajax’s misery [dustênos] is revealed and Odysseus’ animosity [dusmenês] toward Ajax is suspended because this inversion of intentionality, phenomenologically speaking, allows him to see not just Ajax’s fate, but his own.19 Through the acknowledgement of their common mortal fate, Odysseus comes to the complete realization that those who live [zômen] are nothing but images or phantoms [eidôlon] that are as ephemeral [kouphos] as a shadow [skia].

Although Loraux draws attention to this decisive moment in Sophocles’ Ajax in support of her antipolitical interpretation, I argue that she does not follow through with the significant consequences of her reading, especially considering Odysseus’ re-entry to the scene of the drama toward the end of the play. Loraux’s interpretation of this crucial scene in Sophocles’ Ajax remains incomplete insofar as she neither emphasizes Odysseus’ overturning of the fundamentally political friend/enemy distinction nor the role that this plays in disclosing a space that is no longer simply antipolitical (i.e., understood as transgressive of the official discourse of the polis) but infrapolitical (i.e., allowing for another thinking of life and survival in the face of the possibility of death). With the purpose of extending Loraux’s insights, I will briefly summarizing the events leading to the final scene of the play before offering an infrapolitical interpretation of its significance.

After this initial encounter amongst the three main protagonists, Ajax proceeds to commit suicide upon coming back to his senses and reflecting on the weight of his actions and his subsequent guilt. In this sense, it is certainly the weight of his anger [cholô baruntheis] that brings forth Ajax’s demise (Sop., Ajax, 40), which should be interpreted as a form of tragic hubris that resembles the one that will ultimately lead to the demise of a similarly tragic figure like Agamemnon. In the aftermath of his suicide, Tecmessa, his wife, laments her fate and future, while Teucer comes to the side of his fallen brother. Teucer confronts Menelaus and Agamemnon who both prohibit Teucer from burying Ajax. As the confrontation begins to develop into greater animosity, Odysseus re-enters the scene in another reversal of our expectation. Upon seeing Odysseus return to the scene of the drama, the Chorus’ remarks: “Lord Odysseus, know that you have come at the right moment [kairon isth’ elêluthôs], if you have come not to make the tangle worse [mê xunapsôn], but to untie it [alla sullusôn parei]!” (Sop., Ajax, 1316-7). Again, it is worth noting the significant wordplay here, which can be said to characterize Sophocles’ dramatic style.20 In this case, the word play is between xunapsôn and sullusôn, which, according to Jebb’s excellent commentary,21 suggests the subtle difference between “helping to tie a knot” and “helping to undo a knot.”22 After being informed by Agamemnon of Teucer’s intention to bury Ajax’s corpse, Odysseus offers the following speech as friendly advice to the king:

Listen then! For the sake of the gods, do not take the heart to cast this man out ruthlessly, unburied. Violence [hê bia] must not so prevail over you with hate such that you trample justice under foot! For me too he was once my chief enemy [exthistos] in the army, ever since I became the owner of the arms of Achilles; but though he was such in regard to me, I would not so far fail to do him honor as to deny that he was the most valiant man among the Argives, of all that came to Troy, except Achilles. And so you cannot dishonor him without injustice; for you would be destroying not him, but the laws of the gods. It is unjust [ou dikaion] to injure a noble man, if he is dead, even if it happens that you hate him.

(Sop., Ajax, 121-6)

It is important to note the tension or, we could even say, the double bind that influences Odysseus’ nuanced position. On the one hand, Odysseus recognizes the previous enmity between him and Ajax. On the other hand, this enmity is not sufficient for Odysseus to fully abide by the traditional Greek precept of laughing at the misfortune of one’s enemies or the tyrannical hubris of submitting one’s enemy to the worse kind of dishonor (i.e., non-burial). Taken as a whole, Odysseus’ position can be summarized as treading the fine line between hubris and phronêsis. To note just how extreme this tension, I would like to further emphasize the following phrase spoken by Odysseus: “I hated him when it was honorable to hate him [emisoun d’, hênik’ ên misein kalon]” (Sop., Ajax, 1347). It is important to emphasize the ambivalence in Odysseus’ position since it would be a mistake to believe that he is staking out his position simply based on the complete destruction of the friend/enemy distinction.23 The fundamental political principle remains in place, but only as a possible way of acting (i.e., not a prescriptive one). In brief, Odysseus’ shrewdness [mêtis] fundamentally rests on the recognition of the fragility of one of the fundamental hegemonic fantasms guiding political thought and action in ancient Greece.

Continuing to comment on these final lines of Sophocles’ Ajax, it is worth highlighting the significant contrast between Odysseus’ and Agamemnon’s respective attitudes toward Teucer’s intention to bury Ajax’s corpse. As Ruth Scodel notes in her article on Sophocles’ Ajax, “Agamemnon continues to think politically.” (“The Politics of Sophocles’ Ajax,” 42).24 Hence, we can see that Agamemnon remains caught in the grasp of a hubris that leads the king [turannos] to his doom. Agamemnon’s persistence in hubris can be readily appreciated in his response to Odysseus’ suggestion that the king should not take pleasure in an ignoble [mê kalois] pleasure (Sop., Ajax, 1349): “It is not easy for a ruler [turannon] to act piously” (Sop., Ajax, 1350). If Agamemnon’s actions are in line with the political hubris of one who believes himself to be above his fate, then, one might ask, what about Odysseus? If Agamemnon’s decisions are determined by a political hubris, then how should we understand the decisive contrast represented by Odysseus’ thought and action? These questions hardly come up in most commentaries on Sophocles’ Ajax. In the conclusion to her study, Scodel suggests that “Odysseus represents not a political system or policy, but a morality applicable to any.” (42).25 While Scodel’s interpretation is not wrong, I claim that it does not go far enough in elaborating on the consequences of the inability to place Odysseus within any predetermined form of political thought and action. In an attempt to go beyond the impasse in both Scodel’s and Loraux’s respective analyses of Sophocles’ Ajax, I argue that the upshot of Odysseus’ antipolitical or infrapolitical intervention corresponds to the fact that his actions and words reflect a more originary ethics that underlies any possible politics. Put otherwise, Odysseus does not represent any political system or policy precisely because he opens up an infrapolitical dimension of existence that is the unconditioned condition for any ethics and politics.

It is by suspending the friend/enemy distinction that Odysseus avoids further conflict and helps undo the knot that characterizes Agamemnon’s political thought. Indeed, Odysseus goes as far as fundamentally questioning the strict boundaries between friends and enemies by suggesting to Agamemnon that “in truth many people are now friends and later enemies [ê karta polloi nun philoi kauthis pikroi]” (Sop., Ajax, 1359). Odysseus then turns to Teucer and addresses him in the following manner: “And now for the future I proclaim to Teucer that I am as much a friend as I was then an enemy [hoson tot’ exthros ê, tosond’ einai philos]” (Sop., Ajax, 1376-7). Although Teucer ultimately denies Odysseus the possibility of taking part in Ajax’s burial (Sop., Ajax, 1393-5), there is an acknowledgement that the son of Laertes has acted in an excellent and noble fashion (Sop., Ajax, 1381-8). Faced with the all-too-political ruthlessness of Agamemnon and Menelaus, Teucer encounters in Odysseus not exactly a friend [philos], but something like a fellow mortal who has come to the realization that we are nothing but phantoms and shadows and, for this reason, politics does not claim the final word on our existence. This suspension of the friend/enemy distinction allows for the encounter of mortals in a space not already determined by political enmity, which is what we might refer to as the originary space of any possible politics.

In conclusion, I would like to pose the following question: can we think of Odysseus as an infrapolitical figure? I should begin by acknowledging that there is no simple answer to this question. While there are certain strands in Odysseus’ attitude and character that resonate with what we have thematized under the term “infrapolitics,” it is also the case that there are moments in which he engages in political calculations and deliberations. However, one might wonder whether Odysseus’ ambiguity, shrewdness, and prudence do not serve as further confirmation of his infrapolitical character. In the search for infrapolitical figures, there is perhaps little room for purity. There is perhaps no such thing as a purely infrapolitical attitude or existence that would appear as something present-at-hand. Instead, something like infrapolitical existence appears solely through the recognition of a fundamental tension between the desire for another politics and the desire for something other than politics. To illustrate this point more concretely, I would like to draw attention to Agamemnon’s attempt to identify the ulterior motive behind Odysseus’ pity and compassion toward Ajax. Toward the end of his discussion with the son of Laertes, Agamemnon tells Odysseus: “It is always the same! Every man works for himself [homoia pas anêr hautô ponei]” (Sop., Ajax, 1366). In response, Odysseus merely asks the following rhetorical question: “For whom am I likely to work if not for myself?” (Sop., Ajax, 1367). According to Odysseus, it would be shortsighted to not recognize that he too will eventually require burial (Sop., Ajax, 1364). Although it is certainly possible to interpret Odysseus’ actions in a cynical and nihilistic way by suggesting that he is doing nothing other than looking out for his own sake, I would insist that there is another possible interpretation on the horizon. As I have hoped to have shown throughout the present essay, Odysseus discloses something to us that significantly challenges the usual conception of politics as founded exclusively on the friend/enemy distinction. I argue that Odysseus’ desire to recognize a space other than political based on the foundation our shared mortality26 can be understood as one of the many openings of an infrapolitical space in ancient Greek tragedy. Even though the more “political” depictions of Odysseus abound (e.g., in his attempt to steal Philoctetes’ bow to fight and conquer Ilium, which corresponds to the more epic representations offered in Homer), the fact remains that Odysseus is, as the opening lines of the Odyssey reminds us, a figure of many ways [polutropos] (Hom., Ody., I.2). I would like to suggest that one of these many ways—the way of cunningness and shrewdness [mêtis]—reveals Odysseus as a significant infrapolitical figure. In all his complicated and many ways, Odysseus remains in search for something—not just Ithaca but also, perhaps, infrapolitics.


  1. Given that my focus in this essay is not on Heidegger’s interpretation of Antigone and the entire debate surrounding its relevance for his political thinking, I will limit myself in this note to refer to Moreiras excellent discussion of key Heideggerian texts and secondary literature on the topic, which can be found in 50–62. Although Heidegger mentions Antigone throughout several lecture courses, the most relevant ones for the present discussion are: Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. Gregory Fried and Richard Polt (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000); Hölderlin’s Hymn “The Ister” (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996). It is also worth noting the various interpretations of Sophocles’ Antigone in contemporary philosophy, which should also serve as an important indication of the need to reckon with the figure of Antigone both politically and infrapolitically. Cf. Jacques Lacan’s interpretation of Sophocles’ Antigone in Jacques Lacan, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, ed. Jacques Alain-Miller, trans. Dennis Porter (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997), 243–90, which Nicole Loraux describes as “une grande chose qui rompt définitivement (et il [Lacan] le sait) avec les discours pieux en tout genre qui, de tous bords, ont été administers sur Antigone,” Nicole Loraux, “Antigone sans théâtre,” in La Grèce hors d’elle et d’autres textes: Écrits 1973-2003 (Paris: Klincksieck, 2021), 629. In addition, cf. Judith Butler, Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000); Luce Irigaray, “The Eternal Irony of the Community,” in Feminist Readings of Antigone, ed. Fanny Söderbäck (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2010), 99–110. ↩︎
  2. Although I do not have the space to go into it, I believe Moreiras is right in pointing out the significant role of Antigone’s discussion with Ismene in the opening passages of the play. I am thinking particularly of Moreiras’ discussion of the shift in Heidegger’s two interpretation of Antigone, which he describes as follows: “The precise and decisive preparatory moment in Heidegger’s reframing of his reading of Antigone, which must be understood, in my reading, as a reconsideration of the merely political import of the interpretation of the choral ode, must be found in the discussion of the first dialogue between Antigone and Ismene, which was absent in Introduction to Metaphysics,” 58. I claim that one should reflect on Antigone’s decision to take a decisively infrapolitical stance to Creon’s edict, which should be read in stark contrast to Ismene’s insistence on submitting to Creon’s ruling. This can be noticed especially in the following comment made by Ismene, which should serve to contrast her character with that of Antigone: “I do not have it in me to act without means against the people of the city [to de bia politôn dran ephun amêchanos]” (Sop., Ant., 78-9). ↩︎
  3. The references to Antigone in Moreiras’ Infrapolitics are constant. For instance, Moreiras describes the figure of Antigone as “the historical emblem” of the “extrapolitical necessity” for infrapolitics, Moreiras, 52. He also describes our existential condition as that of “disavowing Antigones,” 60. Furthermore, Moreiras gestures to an “Antigonic trace” that can be understood as “the hyperbolic condition of any possible political democracy,” 62. ↩︎
  4. This remark is especially worth keeping in mind since it is situated in Heidegger’s later critique of the National Socialist attempt to identify the Greeks with the foundation of Western politics. Although it goes beyond the scope of this footnote, there is no denying the ambiguity of Heidegger’s strategy. On the one hand, it is worth commending Heidegger’s attempt to approach the Greeks from another lens than the simply political one. On the other hand, Heidegger falls prey to the temptation to read the Greeks as the founders of Western politics a few years before in Introduction to Metaphysics. ↩︎
  5. “An example of infrapolitics would be the one associated with Antigone, a crucial figure of the Western tradition whose infrapolitical drift, a condition of its tragicity, has been denied and disavowed over and over again,” Moreiras, Infrapolitics: A Handbook, 205–6. ↩︎
  6. I should clarify that the work of these French classicists remains indispensable for the project I am outlining in this presentation. However, my critical engagement with Vernant, Naquet, and Détienne through the work of Loraux is an attempt to further the insights of a deconstructive approach to politics or the political in ancient Greek tragedy. ↩︎
  7. It is worth noting that there is no single text where Loraux offers a sustained and detailed discussion of the implications of her original interpretation of ancient Greek tragedy as antipolitical. Although this interpretation appears across her writings, it is perhaps worth bearing in mind that one of her posthumous books is entitled La tragédie d’Athènes: La politique entre l’ombre et l’utopie (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2005). Nevertheless, Loraux offers several elucidations of her understanding of the term antipolitical. For instance, in an essay on Greek tragedy and the human, Loraux writes: “Je me borne ici à formuler sans autre précision que le tragique a toujours à voir, et dans des proportions variables, avec quelque chose non pas d’ « apolitique » (ce qui suppose simplement le désengagement, voire le désintérêt), mais d’antipolitique – tout ce que la cité récuse et qui, chez Eschyle, Sophocle ou Euripide, refuse d’une certaine manière la cité et son idéologie,” “La tragédie grecque et l’humain,” in La Grèce hors d’elle et d’autres textes: Écrits 1973-2003 (Paris: Klincksieck, 2021), 692–93. ↩︎
  8. Another important work that should be mentioned in this context is Jean-Pierre Vernant, “The Birth of the Political,” Thesis Eleven 60, no. 1 (2000): 87–92. ↩︎
  9. Nicole Loraux, The Mourning Voice: An Essay on Greek Tragedy, trans. Elizabeth Trapnell Rawlings (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2002). ↩︎
  10. To further contextualize Loraux’s interpretation of the “official ideology” or “civic discourse” that upholds the ancient Greek polis, cf. Nicole Loraux, The Invention of Athens: The Funeral Oration in the Classical City, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Zone Books, 2006). ↩︎
  11. Among many works, I am thinking of Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy, Retreating the Political, ed. Simon Sparks (London: Routledge, 1997). ↩︎
  12. It is worth emphasizing the connection between Loraux’s antipolitical interpretation of tragedy and Moreiras’ description of infrapolitics as “not a politics, yet it sets the conditions and opens the way for a post-hegemonic practice of democracy, which is the liberation of infrapolitical time in and for existence,” Infrapolitics: A Handbook, 61. ↩︎
  13. My critique of Loraux’s antipolitical interpretation of Sophocles’ Ajax should not be read as a dismissal of her thinking. On the contrary, I consider her work on mourning as an antipolitical activity as essential for the development of my own infrapolitical interpretation. Furthermore, there is another dimension of Loraux’s discussion that is unfortunately outside of the scope of the present essay, but which would be worth considering in future studies since it responds to some of the criticisms I put forth in the present text. I am referring to Loraux’s comments on the specifically gendered exclusion of mourning from the public sphere of the polis, which ultimately meant suppressing the transgressive elements of mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters in mourning. For a more detailed exposition of this dimension of Loraux’s interpretation of tragedy, cf. Tragic Ways of Killing a Woman, trans. Anthony Forster (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987); Mothers in Mourning, trans. Corinne Pache (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1998). ↩︎
  14. In what follows, all translations are my own. However, I have greatly benefited from consulting the following translations: Sophocles, Sophocles: Ajax-Electra-Oedipus Tyrannus, trans. Hugh Lloyd-Jones, vol. 1, 2 vols. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997); Sophocles, Sophocles: The Plays and Fragments With Critical Notes, Commentary and Translation in English Prose—Volume 7: The Ajax, ed. and trans. Richard Claverhouse Jebb, vol. 7, 7 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1896). Additionally, I have consulted the commentary found in Jebb’s edition of the Ajax and Sophocles, Sophocles: Ajax, ed. W. B. Stanford (London: Bristol Classical Press, 2002). ↩︎
  15. It is worth noting that Athena describes Ajax’s misfortunes in the following manner: “Weighed down by anger on account of the arms of Achilles [cholô baruntheis tôn Achilleiôn hoplôn]” (Sop., Ajax, 41). ↩︎
  16. Mary Whitlock Blundell, Helping Friends and Harming Enemies: A Study in Sophocles and Greek Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989). ↩︎
  17. For an excellent discussion of Odysseus’ pity for Ajax and the role it plays in interpreting Sophocles’ Ajax, cf. Santiago Eslava-Bejarano, “Los límites del odio: La compasión de Odiseo en Áyax de Sófocles,” Nova Tellus 37, no. 1 (2019): 25–48. ↩︎
  18. Commenting on the importance of Odysseus’ compassion toward Ajax, Eslava-Bejarano offers the following thought-provoking suggestion concerning the significance of this moment: “La compasión de Odiseo en esta pieza y su vínculo con su concepción de justicia tienen ecos importantes para nosotros: en la actualidad se nos ha querido plantear, desde diversos sectores políticos, una falsa dicotomía entre hacer justiciar y obrar en beneficio de quien nos ha hecho daño,” Eslava-Bejarano, “Los límites del odio: La compasión de Odiseo en Áyax de Sófocles,” 46–47. ↩︎
  19. As Eslava-Bejarano notes: “Junto con lo anterior, el uso del adjetivo “desgraciado” (δύστηνον) es significativo y también muestra que el Laertíada se identifica con su rival,” “Los límites del odio: La compasión de Odiseo en Áyax de Sófocles,” 29. ↩︎
  20. On this theme, it is worth referring to the following essay: Jean-Pierre Vernant and Pierre Vidal-Naquet, “Tensions and Ambiguities in Greek Tragedy,” in Myth and Tragedy in Ancient Greece, trans. Janet Lloyd (New York: Zone Books, 1990), 29–48. ↩︎
  21. Cf. Sophocles, Sophocles: The Plays and Fragments With Critical Notes, Commentary and Translation in English Prose—Volume 7: The Ajax, 7:196. ↩︎
  22. For an exploration of infrapolitics through the figure of the (k)not, cf. my essay, Humberto González Núñez, “El Nudo Infrapolítico y La Verdad de La Democracia,” Pensamiento al Margen Especial (2018): 161–81. ↩︎
  23. It is worth noting that Odysseus proceeds to re-affirm that Ajax “was an enemy [hod’ exthros hanêr], but he was noble [alla gennaios pot’ ên]” (Sop., Ajax, 1355). ↩︎
  24. Loraux expresses a similar view when she identifies this hubris on behalf of the tyrant as an overestimation of politics: “C’est là l’erreur des tyrans, de survaloriser le politique: ils croient refuser la sépulture à un anēr qui serait sorti de l’ordre civique, mais c’est contre un brotós, égal à eux-mêmes, qu’ils s’acharnent,” “La tragédie grecque et l’humain,” 698. ↩︎
  25. Loraux’s otherwise exceptional analysis of ancient Greek tragedy suffers from a similar inability to see beyond the political-antipolitical binary toward the infrapolitical dimension I have attempted to describe in the present essay. For our purposes, the upshot of Odysseus’ antipolitical or infrapolitical intervention can be understood in the following way: Odysseus does not represent any political system or policy, but rather an infrapolitical reflection on existence that is available to anyone. ↩︎
  26. In the connection between finitude and community, I am reminded of Walter Brogan’s attempt to thematize this connection in his essay: Walter Brogan, “The Community of Those Who Are Going to Die,” in Heidegger and Practical Philosophy, ed. David Pettigrew and François Raffoul (New York: State University of New York Press, 2002), 237–48. ↩︎

Works Cited

  • Blundell, Mary Whitlock. Helping Friends and Harming Enemies: A Study in Sophocles and Greek Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
  • Brogan, Walter. “The Community of Those Who Are Going to Die.” In Heidegger and Practical Philosophy, edited by David Pettigrew and François Raffoul, 237–48. New York: State University of New York Press, 2002.
  • Butler, Judith. Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.
  • Détienne, Marcel. The Greeks and Us. Translated by Janet Lloyd. Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2007.
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  • González Núñez, Humberto. “El Nudo Infrapolítico y La Verdad de La Democracia.” Pensamiento al Margen Especial (2018): 161–81.
  • Heidegger, Martin. Hölderlin’s Hymn “The Ister.” Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  • —. Introduction to Metaphysics. Translated by Gregory Fried and Richard Polt. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.
  • Irigaray, Luce. “The Eternal Irony of the Community.” In Feminist Readings of Antigone, edited by Fanny Söderbäck, 99–110. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2010.
  • Lacan, Jacques. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis. Edited by Jacques Alain-Miller. Translated by Dennis Porter. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997.
  • Lacoue-Labarthe, Philippe, and Jean-Luc Nancy. Retreating the Political. Edited by Simon Sparks. London: Routledge, 1997.
  • Loraux, Nicole. “Antigone sans Théâtre.” In La Grèce Hors d’elle et d’autres Texts: Écrits 1973-2003, 629–35. Paris: Klincksieck, 2021.
  • —. La Tragédie d’Athènes: La Politique Entre l’ombre et l’utopie. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2005.
  • —. “La Tragédie Grecque et l’humain.” In La Grèce Hors d’elle et d’autres Texts: Écrits 1973-2003, 689–705. Paris: Klincksieck, 2021.
  • —. Mothers in Mourning. Translated by Corinne Pache. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1998.
  • —. The Invention of Athens: The Funeral Oration in the Classical City. Translated by Alan Sheridan. New York: Zone Books, 2006.
  • —. The Mourning Voice: An Essay on Greek Tragedy. Translated by Elizabeth Trapnell Rawlings. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2002.
  • —. Tragic Ways of Killing a Woman. Translated by Anthony Forster. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987.
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  • —. Des Hégémonies Brisées. Zurich-Berlin: Diaphanes, 2017.
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  • —. Sophocles: Ajax-Electra-Oedipus Tyrannus. Translated by Hugh Lloyd-Jones. Vol. 1. 2 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997.
  • —. Sophocles: The Plays and Fragments With Critical Notes, Commentary and Translation in English Prose—Volume 7: The Ajax. Edited and translated by Richard Claverhouse Jebb. Vol. 7. 7 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1896.
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