Role Of Chorus In Oedipus Rex

What is the role of the chorus in Oedipus Rex?

The role of the chorus in Oedipus Rex is to speak for the society in general. The chorus comments on the actions of the play's characters and provides a broad look at the story.

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Like the chorus in many Greek tragedies, the chorus in Oedipus Rex represents the voice of the greater society. The elders of the chorus are considered to represent men of Thebes who honor and respect the king and the gods. Their odes show both knowledge of religious culture as well...

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Like the chorus in many Greek tragedies, the chorus in Oedipus Rex represents the voice of the greater society. The elders of the chorus are considered to represent men of Thebes who honor and respect the king and the gods. Their odes show both knowledge of religious culture as well as strong loyalty to the king. The chorus' role is to provide a broader context for the action of the play as a whole: the chorus has the ability to pass judgment on the actions of the other characters, & comment on the morality of such.

The Greek chorus originated from the ritualistic and ceremonial origins of Greek tragedy. Sophocles added three members of the chorus to Aeschylus's twelve.The Chorus' odes themselves are quite complicated songs, consisting of 3 parts. These are called, respectively, the strophe, the antistrophe, and the epode. In traditional productions, a dance would accompany the ode. If the strophe established the dance pattern, in the antistrophe the dancers trace backwards the same steps, ending the ode in a different way with the epode.

The content of the choral odes reflect a broader perspective & can be conservative and traditional at times, to demonstrate the views of its society rather than the protagonist. Lyrics about Apollo's oracle and the ruined landscape of Thebes, the timeliness of Teiresias's report all show a deeper understanding of "the big picture", more so than any individual character could portray. The chorus reiterates some of the action, expressing varying emotions throughout. Thus it stands as the voice of the community commenting on the behavior of the characters.

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