Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Chorus from the Masses?

It seems that Sophocles uses the masses within Oedipus Rex to display the masses' feelings towards elites such as Oedipus and Tiresias. The masses, through the Chorus, express consternation over Tiresias's and Oedipus's row at the beginning of the play, and show the only rationality within the scene: they ask Oedipus and Tiresias to calm down, while Oedipus and Tiresias basically continue to bicker about who was a "better prophet". It seems that Sophocles believed in the masses intelligence, and that perhaps intelligence did not only belong to the elite echelon's of society, which also reflects Plato's belief that many leaders who were not philosophers were not fit to lead.

2 comments:

Austin Falk said...

As the masses continue to try and calm Oedipus and Tiresias down, they really do appear to have more sense than both Oedipus and Tiresias. I think that the point Will makes provides an example for how important Sophocles invention of the third actor was to plays. The masses, in this example, through the chorus act as the third character in this scene along with Oedipus and Tiresias. Without this three character setting, the reader would not be able to get the same value out of the scene. You can clearly see that while Tiresias and Oedipus fight, the masses (or third character's) rationality really stands out. It would not be as clear without this three character setting. Through the three actors, you can really have a better feel for what is going on in each scene. This revolutionized plays.

Michell D said...

From my understanding and assumptions, it seems as if the chorus is the person who is most closely related to the audience and is almost communicating with them on the side. Even if this is not true they probably do serve as something/someone that the writer can use to talk or rationalize what is going on to the audience, so in a sense it is the voice of the writer. If I wrote a play and I wanted someone to know what I was talking about, I think the chorus would be a tool that I could use to talk to the audience without detracting from the experience by making the actors break character. So regarding this example, the masses would be the ones who are probably most similar to the audience and are therefore most relatable(I doubt there are extra kings lying around in the audience.) And if someone was trying to reach you during a play wouldn't you want to relate to them? Lastly when Oedipus and Tiresias were arguing there were probably people in the crowd thinking that they need to stop arguing because it will get them nowhere, and the chorus is almost trying to voice what the audience is thinking. Basically I think the chorus is an effective tool to relate to or talk with the audience and still be part of the play.