Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on March 17, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 186

Chorus - a group of singers distinct from the principal performers in a dramatic or musical performance and, also, the song or refrain that they sing.

Illustration of PDF document

Download Guide to Literary Terms Study Guide

Subscribe Now

The word comes from the Greek choros, meaning “a company of dancers or singers,” or “a group of persons singing in unison.”

In ancient Greece, a chorus was a group of male singers and dancers who participated in religious festivals and dramatic performances as actors, commenting on the deeds of the characters and interpreting the significance of events within the play for the audience.

In Aeschylus’s works, the chorus takes part in the action of the play, while in Sophocles’s, the chorus comments on the action. In Euripides’s works, the chorus is lyrical. During the Elizabethan era, a single actor recited both the prologue and the epilogue, and sometimes commented in-between acts to interpret the significance of events, as in Shakespeare’s Henry V, in which The Chorus is a character. Contemporarily, the playwrights T. S. Eliot and Brecht used choruses in their Murder in the Cathedral (1935) and The Caucasian Chalk Circle (1948), respectively.

Explore all literary terms.

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-hour free trial




Explore Study Guides