In one of his other incorporations, Sophoclesn adds a third actor to the stage. With this technique he has been able to reduce the role of the chorus in the greek tragedies. What is the significance of the third actor? In most greek tragedies the chorus had the responsibility of establishing the plot, theme and the mood on the stage. But here under the stage directions of sophocles’, the chorus plays the role of a narrator and a spectator.
The stage directions of Sophocles make the chorus move along the stage, a feature never witnessed earlier in the greek tragedies. The movement of the chorus brings out the dramatic fate of Oedipus. In the beginning of the play, the chorus moves in strophe to signify the voice of the prophecy, but at the end of the play, the chorus moves in antistrophe, to signify their invocation to Athena. Another rimportant change witnessed in this play is that the chorus is kept closer to the audience than the actors to show the audience the importance of the chorus in the play with respect to the development of the tragic fate involving oedipus.
What is so important about the the innovative techniques of sophocles on the Greek stage. His direction is very conducive in showing that it is predetermination that is responsible for Oedipus’ tragic fate. through this innovation Sophocles is able to show the interaction of man vs man, and not man vs god, as shown in the early Greek tragedies.. He shows that man is helpless before fate. the movement of the chorus from left to right , and vice versa shows that it is a vain battle to fight with one’s preordained fate.
In short, it can be said that the stage directions employed by sophocles for his play make this play one of the pillar stones of greek tragedies. Through them, he revolutionised the greek theatre, and opened a new dimension for the playwrights to come after him.