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The chorus is a key part of Murder in the Cathedral, with its voice changing and...

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shewa55 | Valedictorian

Posted January 27, 2013 at 3:12 PM via web

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The chorus is a key part of Murder in the Cathedral, with its voice changing and developing during the play, mediating the action to the audience. Discuss.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 27, 2013 at 4:38 PM (Answer #1)

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The Chorus is a fascinating character in this play, as it performs a role that is similar to that of the Chorus in Greek tragedies in terms of being a character in the play, offering a commentary on the action, and mediating the action and its implications to the audience. What is particularly interesting about the Chorus in this play is the way that Eliot uses it to signpost the message of the play and what he hopes the audience will leave realising: that there are higher powers than earthly politics that can ultimately be trusted in, no matter what dark powers seem to triumph on earth. This is indicated through the development and shift in the feelings of the Chorus. At the beginning of the play they are immensely fearful of the threat that the king represents to Thomas and what might happen. At the end, after witnessing the example of Thomas and his faithfulness to God, they are reconciled to his death and able to see that higher powers are ultimately at play in his assassination:

Thy glory is declared even in that which denies Thee; the darkness declares the glory of light.

Even in the "darkness" of the death of Thomas, the Chorus, and hopefully the audience as well, are able to the "the glory of light," or God's higher providence at work in the messy world of politics. The Chorus in addition is therefore used to highlight the message of this play.

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