Friday, September 30, 2016

The Role of Chorus

I find the chorus an interesting part of Oedipus the King that is unseen in most of today's literature and plays. When I think of a chorus, I think of something that only provides a musical part to a play, but this is not the case in Sophocles. The leader of the chorus, called the Choragos, participates in conversations with the main characters, and the chorus also converses as a whole. The chorus represents the ideal citizen of Athens and therefore provides a moral basis also. The chorus's fist ode, Parados, begins the play, and the Exodus, or exit song, ends the play. This play also has more than the two of three traditional characters, though an actor would normally play multiple roles, but the chorus still has a very important role.

2 comments:

Brooke Williamson said...

I really like Joseph's point here. Throughout the play, Oedipus the King, the chorus is often directly integrated into the actual action of the play, rather than just as a commentary role. For example, when Oedipus is first accused of committing the murder of Laius, the chorus has a speaking part where they directly defend him and request more proof before going against their king. This also symbolizes the loyalty that the Athenian people have towards their ruler. Another instance of choral intervention is when they plead for Oedipus not to kill Creon, rather simply let him leave freely and unharmed. Oedipus even directly states that the only reason he didn't hurt Creon was because of the citizens' constant begging. These two examples show how much Sophocles used the chorus, equating theit role as just as important as any other character. Although representing a group of people, the Athenians, the chorus ultimately only acts as one role, moving as one body throughout the play. Even so, the significance of the chorus is explicit in this play.

Dylan Bryan said...

I agree with both Joseph and Brooke and I think that the chorus adds an important aspect to the play. In Ancient Greece the dramas had a limited amount of characters, so the chorus was more useful. I feel as though today plays do not make as much use of the chorus, and as Joseph said, use it more for musical purposes. The chorus in Oedipus acts as multiple characters, and really the voice of the citizens of Thebes. The chorus in Ancient Greece expresses the morally just mind of the people, and also sort of directs the audiences view point on the play. Throughout the play, the chorus is there witnessing and imputing a voice of reason. The chorus expresses emotions paralleled to the audiences emotions, for example, at the end of the play when they feel pity for Oedipus. The Ancient Greeks held a more valuable use for the chorus and I think in a way it sort of gave the audience a voice in the play.