What do strophe a and antistrophe a refer to?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Stophe and antistrophe are terms denoting the movement and counter movement of the chorus from one side of their playing area to another.  Choral odes and dances serve to separate one scene from another since there was no curtain in the ancient Greet theater.  They also comment on the action, reinforce the emotion, and interpret the situation.

Strope is a turn and antistrophe is the turn the other way.  Along with the epode, or added song, these were all sung while the chorus danced.  Sometimes the chorus performs dance movement during certain portion of the scenes themselves.  In Sophocles's play, Oedipus Rex, for instance, there are strophe 1, antistrophe 1, strope 2, antistrope 2, and strophe 3, antistrophe 3.  Perhaps in other additions they be labeled strope a, b, and c as well as  antistrophe a, b, and c.