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 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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What is the function of the chorus in Oedipus Rex and its role in Greek drama?

The Chorus in Oedipus Rex, as in most Greek tragedies, is a group of at least a dozen actors (though perhaps as many as four dozen) who sing and dance at various times, reciting verses that help the audience to understand what is happening in the play, how characters are feeling or thinking, and so on. The Chorus can reflect on events which have already taken place, ask questions of the characters in order to gain more information, or even speculate about events which may be yet to come. In addition, they seem to stand in for the general populace, as we see them pray to various gods and goddesses for assistance or aid as well as to bemoan the difficulties they experience in their own lives.

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What is the function of the chorus in Oedipus Rex and its role in Greek drama?

The chorus functions as a calming effect upon the characters. Also, the chorus acts a reiteration of important events.

The chorus acts as a revelation to what the audience is thinking. The chorus is the epitomy of common sense by breaking down the actions of the characters.

The chorus acts as a foreshadowing device. Also, the chorus reveals things about the characters that the characters themselves are trying to hide.

The audience depends upon the chorus to reveal truths that may not be exposed by the characters thoughts and actions.

The chorus helps the audience know what the characters may be thinking.

Without the chorus, the audience would...

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not have all the facts.

Overall, the chorus asks important questions that cause the audience and the characters to think more deeply.

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Describe the role of the chorus in "Oedipus The King"how does it contribute to the play

This is a great question. The role of the chorus in Sophocles play is very important. I will mention three roles.

First, the chorus acts as a voice of reason in Sophocles' play. The chorus, the towns people of Thebes, urge moderation. They try to impart the Greek virtue that all things should be done without excess. Of course, Oedipus will not listen, because he has a high view of himself.

Second, the chorus also evokes pity from the audience or reader. They are hungry, sick, and even on the verge of death. They are the ones that describe the situation that the city is going through. So, in a sense, we can say that they set the stage.

Third, by the end of the play the the chorus changes their view and begin to pity Oedipus. When they realize the truth about Oedipus, namely that he married his mother and killed his father, they can only feel compassion.

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What is the role or function of the Chorus in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex?

The chorus in Oedipus Rex represents the Theban elders. The chorus's interest lies purely in protecting the city; and with this interest in mind, the chorus shows great respect and admiration for their king, Oedipus, and also great reverence for the gods. Also, with the interests of the city in mind, they serve the role of portraying a far greater understanding of humanity than Oedipus does.In each ode, the chorus shows either great reverence for the gods or great respect for Oedipus. The chorus is well aware that the citizens of Thebes need the gods' protection in order to be healed from their current plague. The chorus portrays its belief in the gods' power and calls on the gods to use their power to heal the city, as we see in the chorus's lines:

I call: my threefold protection from death [Zeus, Athena, Artemis], shine forth on me. If ever when madness was set upon the city, you sent away our burning scourge. (175-177)  

Not only does the chorus call upon the gods for the city's protection, the chorus is also far quicker to recognize irrational behavior than Oedipus is, which also stems from the chorus's drive to heal and protect the city. In its ability to recognize irrational behavior, the chorus is better able to perceive the weaknesses of human nature than Oedipus is. One example is seen when Oedipus reacts to Tiresias's horrible prophecy. Oedipus becomes furious and even accuses both Creon and Tiresias of a treasonous plot. The chorus is very quick to recognize that Oedipus is behaving irrationally and that the most important thing is learning how to heal the city, as we see in the chorus's lines, "To us it seems that both this man's words are your own, Oedipus, were said in anger" (424-425). 

However, despite the fact that the chorus recognizes Oedipus's human failings, they remain respectful to their king and find it very difficult to believe that Oedipus is guilty. Instead, very rationally they argue that there is no guarantee that the seer is truly wiser than the chorus is and until they see proof, they will not allow Oedipus's good name to be slandered. The chorus's rational mind serves to represent a greater understanding of humanity than Oedipus has himself.

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What purpose does the Chorus serve in speaking with Oedipus in Sophocles' Oedipus the King?

As in many of our surviving Greek tragedies, the chorus, generally speaking, represents the viewpoint of someone who is not a king, queen, prince, princess, or other upper-class person.

In Sophocles' Oedipus the King, the chorus is given the persona of elderly men from Thebes. In their initial conversation with Oedipus, they advise him to consult Teiresias about the murder of Laius (and Oedipus follows their advice). They also provide Oedipus with any information they know about Laius' murder. So, in their opening encounter with Oedipus, they serve as advisors and informants.

Later in the play, after Oedipus argues with Creon, the elderly Thebans again take on the role of advisor as they urge Oedipus not to suspect Creon of being disloyal to him.

After Oedipus blinds himself, the chorus express both pity and horror at Oedipus. They actually think that Oedipus would have been better off if he had killed himself.

So, in Oedipus the King, the chorus' role with respect to Oedipus himself appears to be that of advisor, provider of information, and to serve as a group of citizens who reacts to what he has done after learning of his true identity. These roles are not dissimilar to the roles taken on by other choruses in Greek tragedies.

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