Analysis of the Role of the Chorus in anicent Greek plays. Using "Oedipus The King" as an example.

Essay by YMW99High School, 12th grade February 2004

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Introduction: In Greek plays, the chorus invariably adds complexity and depth to the play and the message it is trying to portray. However to say that the chorus hinders or impedes our understanding of the play is a grievous inaccuracy. Just because an element adds to the complexity of the play, it does not necessarily mean that it would detract the audience's understanding of the play. In this instance the opposite in true of the chorus. The role of chorus as shown in Sophocles' Oedipus King the actually extends our understanding of the play in that the chorus commentate on the action, analyse the meaning behind the actions. Which bring about a deeper and more intimate understanding of the characters and what drives them to act as they do, which equates to a deeper insight of the play.

In Oedipus the king, the chorus commentates and speculates on each major even that occurs in the play.

The chorus act as the citizens of Thebes in the play. In their prayer to the gods at the beginning they explain the setting in detail " Beyond all telling, the city reeks with death in her streets, death-bringing. Non weeps and her children die, none by to pity mother at ever alter kneel. Golden Athena, come near to your crying! Apollo hear us and heal!" this chant of the chorus, gives us (the audience) a detailed description of the background, as we can see the images of women kneeling to prayer to the gods, death and mourning of the people of Thebes, it gives us insight into everyday Theben life. When Teiresias reveals to us that it is Oedipus that is the cause of the plagues and he alone is the one that brings destruction to Thebes, we are shocked. As we see...