Thirty Ways to Summarize the Plot of Sophocles’ Ajax

1. Ajax went crazy.

2. A bunch of cattle are like, “Ah! Ah! Ajax is slaughtering me! For no reason! I thought he was a good person! What the hell gives! This is so unexpected! Mooo!” The craziness of the point of view of the cattle and them talking is intended as a subtle metaphor for Ajax’s unique and horrible bout of insanity.

3. A bunch of rhinos and walruses start a—I know this doesn’t make sense—underground Sophocles fanzine, and the avant-garde self-aggrandizing of Sophocles doing this is meant as a metaphor for the main character Ajax’s Spartan madness.

4. A bunch of T-Rexes group together to stomp out crime. The complete craziness of this on its own, but also of its being in an ancient tragic play, however incongruously, is meant as a running allegory for Ajax’s crazy—which itself doesn’t make sense, which Sophocles must have meant as one of the literary devices.

5. A bunch of—I know I keep using a bunch of but that’s Ajax—Ajax the cleanser salesmen band together and offer an interesting, but ultimately unreliable, discount cleanser. This somehow doesn’t work for Ajax, who is a stickler of a teacher.


6. “Ah! Ah! This guy Ajax is going Medieval on us with a sword!” etc.—Cows. (That guy Ajax is in a lot of trouble.)

7. The use of animals talking—like in Animal Farm—is a metaphor for how crazy it is to be Ajax.

8. Somehow, Ajax got into the cattle pen and started slaughtering the cattle and pigs thinking they were his own men. This is a horrible thing to do, and read the rest.

9. The vagueness of this one this one this one right here might just be a metaphor for Ajax’s going crazy, which I learned about from the summary.

10. Ajax—I mean Sophocles—plays flute. The weirdness and crazy of the author actually being a flautist is—hear me out—a metaphor for Sophocles’ madness. It’s also how Sophocles flouts—the “flute” is a pun for Ajax’s crazy—the literary devices of Aeschylus. A crazy guy can be anything, even if it is the author.

11. The crazy guy of the author getting mixed up in a literary tragedy and like, “How did I get myself into this nonsense”—and how he can’t get out of it, is what writing is anyway. It’s just what writing is. The futility and weirdness of Sophocles complaining is where he tops Aeschylus.

12. A bunch of rhinos and walruses—in a sequel move—meet weekly to fight crime, mainly led by the walruses.

13. Ajax and Sophocles—who you would think were BFFs—get together and confuse everybody, which is the warrior and which is the lunatic madman who wrote this nonsense?!!!!!

14. What are they going to do about Ajax? He’s going ape-shit and murdering all of the animals!

15. Animals talking is an old metaphor but it is no problem in the hands of Ajax.

16. Sophocles may have written it, but this one is all about Ajax.

17. This is Ajax’s time to shine.

18. Sophocles went crazy and started murdering all these cows and pigs—why else would he have his star author, Ajax, do it in an autobiography????

19. Ajax and Sophocles switch bodies.

20. A bunch of interlopers named Ajax and Sophocles, dressed as the soldier and the poet, respectively, band together and actually—whap?—don’t do anything. The ennui is said to represent starvation.

21. I mean, Ajax, do you have to massacre all those cows and pigs? People are talking about you.

22. I definitely know the part of the book that Ajax started murdering a lot of cows and possibly pigs. Part of the book, meaning, that part definitely happened. I know that part happened. In real life. That was Ajax. I mean, come on.

23. A bunch of rhinos and walruses—I smell a part 3!—yes, band together, and this time they want blood on their hands. I know, no one wants blood on their hands. It is said to represent Ajax.

24. The rhinos and walruses are a callback.

25. Ajax, have you seen my cows and horses? Somebody said you were out here swinging a sword. Looks like you have a lot of explaining to do. Etc.

26. Ajax, get the hell in here. What’s the deal slaughtering all these cows and pigs.

27. Ajax is in a lot of trouble.

28. Agamemnon comes back and is, like, don’t bury Ajax. He doesn’t deserve it.

29. Ajax’s half-brother defends Ajax, and says that maybe he possibly could be buried.

30. Ajax is buried.