The Theme of Illness in Sophocles’ Ajax
Keywords:history of madness, Hippocratic medicine, the history of science, Sophocles, Greek tragedy
This article examine the meaning and use of the term illness in Sophocles’ Ajax. It concludes that Sophocles perceived that the cause for Ajax impaired cognition was a result of somatic irregularity, much like the explanation of all ailments found in the works of the Hippocratic authors. Furthermore, as the play has been introduced about a half a century before the first Hippocratic works, it concludes that the view of illness which leads to madness was commonplace in the Greek world even before the rise of Hippocratic medicine.