Ajax, recovered from the spell, emerges from his tent and clearly reveals to his friends that he is a shamed and broken man. Sick in mind at the thought of the taunts of Odysseus, he wishes only to die. Even in his abject misery, however, he is sure that had Achilles personally chosen his successor he would have named Ajax. The despairing man tries to find some means of escape from the consequences of his deed. The alternative to death is to return to Salamis and his noble father, Telamon, but he knows that he can never shame Telamon by facing him. His friends, alarmed at his deep gloom and sensing tragedy, advise him to reflect; Tecmessa urges him to live for her sake and for the sake of their little son, Eurysaces. At the mention of the name of his beloved son, Ajax calls for the boy. Solemnly he gives Eurysaces his great shield and directs that the child be taken to Salamis, so that he might grow up to avenge his father?s disgrace. After dismissing Tecmessa and his son, he remains in his tent alone to clear his troubled thoughts. His followers, meanwhile, resume their lament over their disgraced leader.

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