Oedipus Rex Questions and Answers
by Sophocles

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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.

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q8 | Student

The role of the chorus in Oedipus Rex is to give insight on how others are looking in on the situation. The play mostly gives Oedipus' thoughts and how he is feeling. While the choir is narrating most scenes that happened in the background, or off the stage, to give the readers even more insight and understanding. They were also their too help the King on this quest to finding the killer of the former King. Oedipus steady took suggestions from the Chorus.

zumba96 | Student

Sometimes they are the bridge in between the audience and the players. They can fill in what the audience is missing. They can also explain what is going through the characters minds at times. They can comment on the themes present in the play and overall shows what the ideal audience would react like. 

saransnyh | Student

The Chorus is roughly like the peanut-gallery (it’s even occasionally told to shut up). Sophocles uses this group of Thebans to comment on the play's action and to foreshadow future events. He also uses it to comment on the larger impact of the characters' actions and to expound upon the play's central themes. In Oedipus the King we get choral odes on everything from tyranny to the dangers of blasphemy.

Sophocles also uses the Chorus at the beginning of the play to help tell the audience the given circumstances of the play. We hear all about the terrible havoc that the plague is wreaking on Thebes. By describing the devastation in such gruesome detail, Sophocles raises the stakes for his protagonist, Oedipus. The people of Thebes are in serious trouble; Oedipus has to figure out who killed Laius fast, or he won't have any subjects left to rule.

Unlike his contemporary Euripides, Sophocles was known to integrate his choruses into the action of the play. In Oedipus the King we see the Chorus constantly advising Oedipus to keep his cool. Most of the time in ancient tragedies choruses do a lot of lamenting of terrible events, but do little to stop them. Amazingly, though, the Chorus in Oedipus the King manages to convince Oedipus not to banish or execute Creon. Just imagine how much worse Oedipus would have felt if he'd killed his uncle/brother-in-law on top of his other atrocities.

The Chorus in Oedipus the King goes through a distinct character arc. They begin by being supportive of Oedipus, believing, based on his past successes, that he's the right man to fix their woes. As Oedipus's behavior becomes more erratic, they become uncertain and question his motives. The fact Oedipus doesn't start lopping off heads at this point is pretty good evidence that he's not a tyrant. In the end, the Chorus is on Oedipus's side again and laments his horrific fate.

Like most all ancient Greek tragedians, Sophocles divides his choral odes into strophe and antistrophe. Both sections had the same number of lines and metrical pattern. In Greek, strophe means "turn," andantistrophe means "turn back." This makes sense when you consider the fact that, during the strophe choruses danced from right to left and during the antistrophe they did the opposite. Sophocles may have split them into two groups, so that it was as if one part of the Chorus was conversing with the other. Perhaps the dualities created by strophe and antistrophe, represent the endless, irresolvable debates for which Greek tragedy is famous.

prativa | Student

In Oedipus rex many action are off stage.The action such as killing the king, queens sucide, king blinding himself etc are the off stage action. thus,chorus help audiences to fill the gap of action. As well as choragous help king by giving suggestions. It also explain the king feeling. It bridge gap between audience and the stage.