• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The role of the Chorus in Oedipus Rex

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

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. ...read more.

Middle

This mechanical function allowed the spectators to follow the play's plot easily. Sophocles used this role frequently, "look, they bring him on at last, the seer [Tiresias]" and "Put your requests to Creon, here he is" shows this. "Thebes [is] like a great army dying" further evidences how Sophocles uses the chorus to describe the condition of the city. This role is like a technical helper that allows the playwright id est to give information to the audience with out muddling up the credibility of the plot. The next role is to clarify and narrate the story. Through the above mentioned technical helper (the chorus), Sophocles could also narrate parts of the story that did not take place on stage. Exempli gratia: "I saw it all, and with all the memory that's in me you will learn what that poor woman suffered", through the questions of the chorus, the audience acquires the information. Another one of mechanical function roles of the chorus was to separate the episodes through the choral odes. ...read more.

Conclusion

The chorus, in this case teaches the spectators about the importance of obeying and believing in the gods. The tone of the chorus, in various parts suggests that the only reason that Oedipus suffered so much is because he tried to evade destiny, thus, undermining the power of the Greek gods. In Oedipus the King, the chorus is the 'perfect' audience. It reacts to the action on stage as one is expected to, and the chorus also helps structure the play with the stasimones. The koryphaios often engages in kommos with Oedipus, also the hemichoria narrate the play and gives the spectators background information. The chorus has a vital role in the play, as it structures it and gives the actors a break. It also is a technical helper to both the actors and the playwright, no matter its amateurism. To summarize, without the chorus Oedipus the King would not have been the masterpiece that it is now. Word Count: 885 Mr. L. Thompson Page 1 of 2 English A1 SL Rm. 139 Stephanie Shao 11D Created on 08/12/2006 8:38 PM Vienna International School ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. What is the role of the chorus in "Oedipus the King" the "Lysistrata".

    This is a feature mostly presented in "Oedipus" rather than "lysistrata" because the chorus is acting as the council in "Oedipus" and it's bound to give advice which it does, where as in "Lysistrata" the chorus goes along with the plot and does not stand out as an advice maker or problem solver.

  2. How far do you agree that Sophocles "Oedipus the King" is nothing more than ...

    Oedipus is not intrinsically good, this is in keeping with good tragedy; but neither is he intrinsically bad, so does he deserve it and does ignorance warrant punishment? These questions arise throughout the play, not only by the audience but also by the reader.

  1. Was Julius Caesar an effective leader?

    The peace ensuing from his subjugation of Gaul had a number of effects; it enabled greater commerce between Rome and Gaul, and served to allay any fears of invasion.

  2. What was the function of hadrians wall

    forts, such as the headquarters and commanding officers house, are on the southern site of the wall for possible added protection- with places such as barracks and cavalry only occasionally being North facing. Bede also saw the ditch on the Northern side of the Wall as an indication of a

  1. Cinderella - play script

    Max? (she gives him a pleading look) King: Chris, it's really very simple. All your mother and I want is for you to be happy. Queen: Happiness has nothing to do with it! (collecting herself) I mean of course we WANT you to be happy. But you do have certain obligations.

  2. An examination of why lines 370- 447 form a key passage in Sophocles' Oedipus ...

    This is contrasting to the manner he addresses the prophet before in the line 'No other man but you, my lord, can save us' (304), where Oedipus uses respectful diction further emphasized by the title 'my lord'. He gives Teiresias high status and attributes to his ability to communicate with Gods as only "he can interpret their ways" (305).

  1. Oedipus Rex, written by Sophocles

    Godlike in power, a god in him, more like a god than any man alive. These phrases are considered a mockery of the Gods and is evidently a path to his downfall; all this pride simply due to the result of his early success with the Sphinx.

  2. Oedipus Rex, is a Sophocles play, that according to Freud exemplifies a formative stage ...

    Primal desires of course can be quickly repressed but even among the mentally sane they could always rise again in dreams and in literature. The most critical conflict that the child must successfully resolve from healthy personality and sexual development and this all occurs during the phillc stage.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work