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

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World Literature assignment What is the role of the chorus in "Oedipus the King" the "Lysistrata" To answer this question we first need to understand what was the nature and the function of the chorus in the ancient Greek theatrical plays. I will examine the role of the chorus in both theatrical plays, followed by examining by whom the choruses were represented in the two plays and finally present the functions of each chorus in both theatrical plays. In ancient Greek plays, there was also the Chorus. The choruses were a group of men, who played roles of either male or female characters, such as the Elders, Old Women. The two plays I chose feature a group of elders in "Oedipus" and a split chorus of men and women in "Lysistrata". They spoke together, and their speeches often made comments on what's going on in the play. This particular feature of speaking together is being used a great deal in "Oedipus" as it is a tragedy and the council of men which is the chorus speaks at the same time to put emphasis on the tragic event that just happened. This feature is also used in "lysistrata" but because it's a comedy when the chorus is speaking together is rather likely to give its opinion and not sum up an event or announce an important event. ...read more.


All of the choruses represent feelings of the groups mentioned above. In "Oedipus" there is only one chorus and one of its primary functions is to act as bystanders throughout the play reacting to situations and usually observing everyone around them and also offering their opinion acting as a council at some points at regular intervals throughout the play. An example of this is when Oedipus irrationally accuses Croon of conspiring against him, the Chorus responds "To one who fears fall, his words seem good; O king, swift counsels are not always safe". This makes them important in this role as they are often the voice of reason during heated moments, the voice of fear and confusion during Oedipus' downfall which seems to mirror the audience's reaction and emotion in many situations throughout the play. The things the Chorus advices such as the one mentioned above are in fact reasonable and would have been the right things to do by Oedipus but he does not take their advice. The chorus is also used as a receptive audience to things that have been said behind the scenes. An example of this is when Jocasta has realized the truth about who Oedipus really is and the second messenger comes to describe the scene inside the palace to the chorus: "within the porch, straight to the couch she rushed, her bridal bed, and toe her hair". ...read more.


In modern theater the plays are normally split into scenes and acts. However in a Greek tragedy to keep the continuity of the plot without having normal brakes they had these natural gaps by having a narrative section. This ruled out the necessity of having breaks in the action that was tacking place and in a way kept the audience informed of what was going on. However the chorus in "Lysistrata" does not really act the same way in this particular role. In "Lysistrata" because it is a comedy the chorus as we mentioned before is active in the play and did not really stop in between the scenes to recap on the scene or to explain what had happened behind the scenes. The chorus in "Lysistrata" fighting its own battles during the play was always active and communicated mostly thorough the leader, unlike in Oedipus where the chorus had no leader and expressed its own opinions acting as council and informers. These main differences between the choruses are mainly there due to the different genre each act has which it need its chorus to act and do different things in order to keep the going. By Marios Symeonides Word Count: 1,621 World Literature assignment 1 1 ...read more.

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