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The Rhetorical Resolution of Sophokles’ Aias

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Abstract The resolution at the end of Sophokles’ Aias is brought about through a collaborative rhetorical strategy between Odysseus and Agamemnon. They agree to redirect their agôn away from the deliberative question of whether to bury Aias toward an interrogation of Odysseus’ philia, so that Agamemnon can eventually grant the burial publicly as a favor to Odysseus. In Aristotelian terms, the debate takes the unusual form of developing the character pistis in isolation from the logical pistis. This mutual avoidance of a demand for theoretical agreement is analogous to democratic practice.

Affiliations: 1: Kenyon College, Integrated Program in Humane Studies Timberlake House, Gambier, OH 43022 USA hawthornek@kenyon.edu

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