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The role of the Chorus in Oedipus Rex

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  • Essay length: 918 words
  • Submitted: 23/01/2007
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AS and A Level Classics

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What are the roles/functions of the Chorus in Oedipus the King?

The chorus in Sophocles' Oedipus the King consisted of 2 sub-choral groups and a koryphaios, the leader of the chorus. The two hemichoria were made up of inexperienced Athenians, whilst the koryphaios was either talented or more experienced. The chorus had 2 main functions; lyrical and mechanical. Thus these functions provided the chorus with many roles, although only a few will be mentioned in this essay. One of them was to introduce the characters and offer important background information. Another one was to summarize the episode in the form of a choral ode. They also had to clarify and narrate the play, voice the opinion of the audience and engage the main actors in dialogue.

One of the functions of the chorus is the lyrical function. The lyrical function helps Sophocles, the playwright to result with Freytag's pyramid by regulating the development of the plot. The chorus has the role to voice the opinions of the audience and other characters, such as the Thebans. This allowed Sophocles' to keep his actor group small whilst staging his play realistically. "Respect him- he's been no fool in the

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