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Ajax: An Ancient Tragedy That Resonates Today

The final shot of Ajax. (Michael Lutch/A.R.T.)

A new translation of “Ajax,” written by Sophocles in the 5th century, is on stage through March 13 at the A.R.T. in Cambridge.

Ajax tells the story of one of the heroes of the Trojan War. A loyal and devoted soldier, Ajax does all that is asked of him. But when the armor of the celebrated Achilles is awarded to his rival, Odysseus, instead of to him, Ajax feels betrayed and abandoned. He becomes enraged and goes mad on the battlefield, bringing shame to himself and his family.

The theme, a hero confronting the reality that his time of glory is over, defines the tragedy of “Ajax.” It is a theme that’s eerily relevant today as we consider the lasting impact of two wars on modern soldiers in the U.S.

The production is a part of something called Theatre of War, a project that presents readings from dramatic productions like Ajax to military communities across the country.

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