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In Oedipus Rex, how does the Chorus's response change from Ode 1 to Ode 2?

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blakepointblank | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 2, 2010 at 7:41 AM via web

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In Oedipus Rex, how does the Chorus's response change from Ode 1 to Ode 2?

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

Posted November 2, 2010 at 8:41 AM (Answer #1)

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This is a great question. It is well worth analysing the Chorus as a character in his own right, and considering where he stands throughout the play and how he comments on the action and what is happening. Certainly in Ode 1 the the Chorus expresses both confident optimism and nervous apprehension. This apparent indecision or ambiguity reflects the wider theme of Oedipus's great knowledge against his ignorance of the terrible truth about his own past.

However, the in Ode 2 the Chorus comments harshly on those who attempt to defy or dismiss prophecy. Clearly he is referring here to Jocasta and her scepticism regarding oracles and their veracity. In this Ode, the complete trust in the Gods and their oracles and prophecies seems to indicate a siding against Oedipus and for the element of destiny and fate that will gradually reveal itself. Consider the following lines:

Let each man take due earnings, then,

And keep his hands from holy things,

And from blasphemy stand apart -

Else the crackling blast of heaven

Blows on his head, and on his desperate heart...

Clearly the power of the Gods to punish blasphemy and those who oppose them, knowingly or unknowingly, is alluded to, thus indicated bad things in the offing for Oedipus.

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