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Choose from Oedipus Rex one of the songs that the Chorus sings and discuss their...

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yinghuang86 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 3, 2013 at 8:22 PM via web

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Choose from Oedipus Rex one of the songs that the Chorus sings and discuss their reaction to the previous or the next event in the play.

 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 12, 2013 at 1:20 AM (Answer #1)

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In contrast to another writer of his time, Euripedes, Sophocles makes his Chorus an integral part of his drama. Certainly, the Chorus acts almost like a character as it comments on actions and even advises personages in the play. For instance, the Chorus  influences Oedipus at one point, advising him not to kill or banish Creon, thus saving him the shame of murdering his brother-in-law/uncle added to his other ignominies. Nevertheless, the chorus, by definition, care more about solving the problems of the city and ridding it of the plague than anything else.

After Scene I, the chorus comments in Strophe and Antistrope, a point and counterpoint, about the interaction of the seer Teiresias and Oedipus, the king.  In Strophe I, the Chorus feels that fate follows Oedipus, but wonders how any quarrel could exist with Polybus and Oedipus as they still believe Polybus is the father of Oedipus.  In the Antistrophe, the counter idea that "wisdom changes hands among the wise" is introduced, yet, the Chorus do not want to believe what Teiresias has told them about the damned man living in Thebes.  Still, the Chorus vacillates somewhat as they warn of the implications of what the seer has said.

That killer's hour of flight has come....

For the son of Zeus armed with his father's thunder

Leaps in lightining after him;

And the Furies hold his track, the terrible, unerring  Furies. (1.490-495)

This warning, then carries the action into the next Scene. At this point the Chorus is supportive of Oedipus, but as the drama progresses, they become doubtful and question some of the king's motives, especially his anger with Creon.  Further, the Chorus becomes sympathetic to Oedipus as he does not act against Creon, and, especially, when Oedipus suffers his terrible fate for his unknowing act against Laius, his act of hamartia.

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