αἰαῖ · τίς ἄν ποτ’ ᾤεθ’ ὧδ’ ἐπώνυμον
τοὐμὸν ξυνοίσειν ὄνομα τοῖς ἐμοῖς κακοῖς ;
νῦν γὰρ πάρεστι καὶ δὶς αἰάζειν ἐμοὶ
καὶ τρίς · τοιούτοις γὰρ κακοῖς ἐντυγχάνω ·
ὅτου πατὴρ μὲν τῆσδ’ ἀπ’ Ἰδαίας χθονὸς
τὰ πρῶτα καλλιστεῖ’ ἀριστεύσας στρατοῦ
πρὸς οἶκον ἦλθε πᾶσαν εὔκλειαν φέρων ·
ἐγὼ δ’ ὁ κείνου παῖς , τὸν αὐτὸν ἐς τόπον
Τροίας ἐπελθὼν οὐκ ἐλάσσονι σθένει
οὐδ’ ἔργα μείω χειρὸς ἀρκέσας ἐμῆς ,
ἄτιμος Ἀργείοισιν ὧδ’ ἀπόλλυμαι .
καίτοι τοσοῦτόν γ’ ἐξεπίστασθαι δοκῶ ·
εἰ ζῶν Ἀχιλλεὺς τῶν ὅπλων τῶν ὧν πέρι
κρίνειν ἔμελλε κράτος ἀριστείας τινί ,
οὐκ ἄν τις αὔτ’ ἔμαρψεν ἄλλος ἀντ’ ἐμοῦ .
νῦν δ’ αὔτ’ Ἀτρεῖδαι φωτὶ παντουργῷ φρένας
ἔπραξαν , ἀνδρὸς τοῦδ’ ἀπώσαντες κράτη .
κεἰ μὴ τόδ’ ὄμμα καὶ φρένες διάστροφοι
γνώμης ἀπῇξαν τῆς ἐμῆς , οὐκ ἄν ποτε
δίκην κατ’ ἄλλου φωτὸς ὧδ’ ἐψήφισαν .
νῦν δ’ ἡ Διὸς γοργῶπις ἀδάματος θεὰ
ἤδη μ’ ἐπ’ αὐτοῖς χεῖρ’ ἐπεντύνοντ’ ἐμὴν
ἔσφηλεν , ἐμβαλοῦσα λυσσώδη νόσον ,
ὥστ’ ἐν τοιοῖσδε χεῖρας αἱμάξαι βοτοῖς ·
κεῖνοι δ’ ἐπεγγελῶσιν ἐκπεφευγότες ,
ἐμοῦ μὲν οὐχ ἑκόντος · εἰ δέ τις θεῶν
βλάπτοι , φύγοι τἂν χὠ κακὸς τὸν κρείσσονα .
καὶ νῦν τί χρὴ δρᾶν ; ὅστις ἐμφανῶς θεοῖς
ἐχθαίρομαι , μισεῖ δέ μ’ Ἑλλήνων στρατός ,
ἔχθει δὲ Τροία πᾶσα καὶ πεδία τάδε .
πότερα πρὸς οἴκους , ναυλόχους λιπὼν ἕδρας
μόνους τ’ Ἀτρείδας , πέλαγος Αἰγαῖον περῶ ;
Ai , ai . Whoever would have thought that my given name would join with my woes like this ? For now it is possible for me to wail that sound twice and even thrice . For such evils do I fall in with . The father of whom came out of this same land of Troy towards home having won the first prizes for valour from the army , carrying all the fame . But I , the child of that man , having come up to the same land of Troy with no less force , nor having assisted with my hand in fewer deeds of bravery , I , dishonored by the Argives , am ruined like this ! And yet this much , at least , I think I understand fully . If Achilles , still living , had intended to judge the strength of heroism in some man on behalf of his arms , not one other would have held them before me ! But now , the sons of Atreus have made them over to the man with the cunning mind , having rejected the mighty deeds of this man ! And if this eye and this crippled mind had not strayed from my purpose , they never again would have voted judgement against another man like this ! But now , the terror striking , inexorable goddess , daughter of Zeus , as I was already sending my hand against them , has undone me , throwing a raging madness upon me so that I have stained my hands with such as animals’ blood ! And those men laugh , having escaped , not through any will of my own . But if one of the gods strikes , then the coward might escape the better man . And now , what must I do ? I who clearly am hated by the gods , the army of the Greeks despises me , and all of Troy and this battlefield detest me . Towards which houses , abandoning the seats of safe harbor and the forsaken sons of Atreus , do I cross the open Aegean ?
Ajax . Ajax . My name is a sad song . Who would have thought that it would someday be the sound that a man makes in despair ? Ajax . After Troy , my father , Telemon , he rode home in a victory parade . He made quite a name for himself , here , in this country , receiving full honors from the army . But now I , the son , stand in the place where my father once stood , with no less troops , no fewer triumphs , but my body will rot on strange soil . Dishonored in front of my fellow soldiers ! This much I know . If Achilles still lived , and decided to hold a contest for his arms , awarding them to the greatest warrior , at the end of the day , they would be mine ! But the generals gave the arms to a man without morals ignoring all the times I risked my life to defend them against our enemies . And if my eyes and mind had not been twisted by a sickness , taking me off target , the generals and Odysseus would not have lived to cast their votes , cast to the sea in the morning . But relentless , dark eyed daughter of Zeus ravaged me with a madness as I stood beside their beds and so I stained my hands with the blood of cows .
The men I hunted narrowly escaped through no fault of mine . They laugh at me . But , with a god’s help , the weak evaded the strong . What should I do now ? The gods hate me , the Greeks loathe me , the Trojans despise me . Perhaps I should set sail for home across the open sea leaving behind the men and the sons of Atreus ?