Vol 9 (2019)

Pious Sophocles?

Guido Paduano
University of Pisa
Published October 1, 2020


Sophocles’ pious attitude towards gods and religion is a scholarly commonplace, leading the vast majority of scholars to an optimistic interpretation of Sophoclean theodicy. However, it must be observed that gods’ intervention is frequently shown as ambiguous, or even openly questioned. This paper offers a general reassessment of Sophocles’ theodicy, by means of a close reading of several passages from the Sophoclean corpus. Particular attention will be paid to Ajax: the paper will show that Athena’s argumentative and discursive role in the dialogue with Odysseus is comparable to that of Agamemnon, the most discredited character in the whole play.