"'Tis A Long Road Knows No Turning"

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Last Updated on June 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 210

Context: Ajax, ruler of Salamis, presumably second only to Achilles in bravery among those warriors who besieged Troy, had no real reason for joining the Greeks against the Trojans. Consequently, when Achilles had been killed and his arms given not to Ajax but to Ulysses, Ajax goes mad and slays a flock of sheep, mistaking them for the sons of Atreus who awarded the arms to Ulysses. Then in contrition Ajax calls his son to him and tells him, "The happiest life consists in ignorance." The Chorus hear Ajax planning his own demise and comment: "And Ajax, deaf to all relief,/ A frenzy-haunted man,/ Stands by to renovate my grief." "Now he broods in heart, alone,/ A deep affliction to his own." Ajax then enters with drawn sword and says: ". . . I am going thither, where I must go;/ But do ye as I bid you, and perchance/ Ye may soon hear that I have gained, in spite/ Of present evil, safe deliverance." The Chorus then comments:

Now that Ajax, his distresses
Anew laid by,
All worship to the God addresses,
Honouring them, as is most meet.
'Tis a long road knows no turning,
And there's nothing may not be,
Now, from choler and heart-burning
Huge, against the Atreidae,
Ajax relents so unexpectedly.

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