How should we interpret the final choral song that ends the play?
Original Question: In terms of characterization and conflict, what is the effect and significance of the choral songs that end each episode? How should we interpret the final choral song that ends the play?
Editor's Note: There are two questions here and a Q&A can only address one. I'm addressing the second.
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Greek tragedy originated as pure choral song performed at religious festivals. Individual actors were added later. Although the chorus in some ways represents a consensus, what the typical viewer might be likely to think, it can also take to part of expressing the views associated with its religious functions. Given that Sophocles himself was a priest of the cult at Colonus (the burial site of Oedipus according to Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus), here we appear to be seeing a conclusion in which the chorus is suggesting that the gods punished Creon for impiety and that the point of punishing arrogance and impiety is to teach wisdom and piety, not just to the characters of the play, but more importantly, to us, the audience.
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