The plot of Sophocles’ Philoctetes begins with the construction of a plausible fiction. The trickster Odysseus supplies his protégé Neoptolemus with the outline of a sympathetic cover story that will allow him to win Philoctetes’ trust. Neoptolemus must claim that he, like Philoctetes, has been mistreated by the Atridae: summoned to the Achaean camp with assurances that he is indispensable to the effort to take Troy, he has discovered that his father’s armor was handed over to Odysseus and is returning home in outrage. Through Odysseus’ self-seeking variant, Sophocles here alludes to one of the most compelling and frequently retold episodes of the Troy legend, the Judgment of Arms, in which Achilles’ armor is awarded to Odysseus rather than to Ajax, leading to Ajax’s subsequent rage and suicide.1 The plausibility of Neoptolemus’ false tale is secured by its resemblance to the Ajax story, which belongs at once to the realm of reality-since, for the characters Odysseus and Neoptolemus, it constitutes real past events-and to the realm of representation-since, for audiences and readers of the play, it constitutes a mythical event from the literary tradition.