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Discuss the dramatic significance of the chorus in the "Murder in the Cathedral" by...

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shalabhsingh03 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted September 26, 2012 at 3:16 AM via web

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Discuss the dramatic significance of the chorus in the "Murder in the Cathedral" by T.S. Eliot.

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Payal Khullar | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted September 28, 2012 at 9:39 AM (Answer #1)

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Chorus in the play Murder in the Cathedral by T.S Eliot is a group of Canterbury women (Though, no definite number of women is mentioned). Dramatically very significant in the play, the chorus is the action teller, delivering odes in the play that basically tell the story of Thomas Beckett, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Chorus/Canterbury women tell us about Beckett’s life, decisions and death. They are extremely worried for Beckett. They are merely helpless eyewitnesses. In the beginning, they tell us that they wait for Beckett who has been away for seven years from Canterbury and pray for his wellbeing. Their choral songs foreshadow the upcoming violence and tragedy. Then the voices change to telling the past action so that the audience fully relates to the events happening in the present. They fear the murder of their spiritual leader and in the end mourn Beckett’s death.

Thus, all of the action, in simple terms, is successfully portrayed through the chorus. The chorus not only plays the character of ordinary people of Canterbury, but also act as a connecting link between the audience and play.

We also see chorus changing and developing during the course of the play. The style is much similar as the chorus in a Greek tragedy.

Their songs make us understand the misery and hardships of the life of ordinary people of Canterbury. They are poor, powerless. The foreseen loss of their spiritual leader worsens their condition. The chorus helps the audience relate and fear the foreseen troubles along with them. And in a way, they become the audience themselves.

Chorus is a very powerful dramatic device here as the thoughts of Chorus help the audience understand the true meaning and message of the play. The chorus also sheds a light to the significance and value of Beckett’s martyrdom. In fact the true interpretation of the play can’t be done without taking into account the chorus.

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Payal Khullar

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yakta | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted November 23, 2012 at 1:51 PM (Answer #2)

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Chorus in the play Murder in the Cathedral by T.S Eliot is a group ofCanterbury women (Though, no definite number of women is mentioned). Dramatically very significant in the play, the chorus is the action teller, delivering odes in the play that basically tell the story of Thomas Beckett, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Chorus/Canterbury women tell us about Beckett’s life, decisions and death. They are extremely worried for Beckett. They are merely helpless eyewitnesses. In the beginning, they tell us that they wait for Beckett who has been away for seven years from Canterbury and pray for his wellbeing. Their choral songs foreshadow the upcoming violence and tragedy. Then the voices change to telling the past action so that the audience fully relates to the events happening in the present. They fear the murder of their spiritual leader and in the end mourn Beckett’s death.

Thus, all of the action, in simple terms, is successfully portrayed through the chorus. The chorus not only plays the character of ordinary people of Canterbury, but also act as a connecting linkbetween the audience and play.

We also see chorus changing and developing during the course of the play. The style is much similar as the chorus in a Greek tragedy.

Their songs make us understand the misery and hardships of the life of ordinary people of Canterbury. They are poor, powerless. The foreseen loss of their spiritual leader worsens their condition. The chorus helps the audience relate and fear the foreseen troubles along with them. And in a way, they become the audiencethemselves.

Chorus is a very powerful dramatic device here as the thoughts of Chorus help the audience understand the true meaning and message of the play. The chorus also sheds a light to the significance and value of Beckett’s martyrdom. In fact the true interpretation of the play can’t be done without taking into account the chorus.

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