Descent into Hell

by Charles Williams

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What does the chorus represent in Descent into Hell?

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The chorus acts as a form of foreshadowing for the plot of the novel. Peter Stanhope, the main character, is a playwright whose play is being performed at the Manor House. The play has a spiritual notion that goes unnoticed by most of those involved in the production of it. However, Pauline Anstruther finds frightful solace in the words of the play. She opens up to Peter about her fear of a doppelgänger that keeps reappearing in her life. Peter takes this burden off her shoulders, opening up to accept another’s greatest fear. Here, the climax of the novel begins to build. Pauline excels in her position in the choir and becomes a leader. This foreshadows her upcoming supernatural abilities. Her passion for the play and her newfound abilities only accelerate from here. In a metaphorical kind of way, as the chorus grows, so too does the plot. Pauline’s grandmother is elderly and on the verge of passing. With her newfound spirit, Pauline is able to connect with her grandmother and hold the burden of their ancestors. Eventually, her grandmother passes away on the very day of the play; however, this does not stop Pauline.

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