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Alcestis. In Euripides play, Alcestis, the chorus serves as a way to observe and comment on progression of the characters, forward the action of the play, and evoke sympathy for the hero in the play. Euripides uses the chorus as the most important elem

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Introduction

The chorus has always played an important role in the Ancient Greek dramas. Usually ranging from 15 to 50 citizens, they have different purposes; most commonly, they provide information and insight for the audience to speculate over. In Euripides' play, Alcestis, the chorus serves as a way to observe and comment on progression of the characters, forward the action of the play, and evoke sympathy for the hero in the play. Euripides uses the chorus as the most important element in his play; without them the audience would not be able to fully appreciate the complexity of his characterization and the subtlety of his plot structure. The Chorus serves as way for the viewer to better understand the actions of the characters. Throughout the play the Chorus refers to past actions that lead them to believe Admetos is, "A noble man," (Euripides 49). Although they believe he is dignified, they often question his actions. ...read more.

Middle

Such action is evident in the meeting of Herakles, " Herakles. But tell me what business brings you to Thessaly?" (Euripides 56). The introduction helps to give the audience a sense of who Herkales is and foreshadow what his role will be. Another character they introduce is Admetos' father, Pheres. The Chorus also helps the viewer to understand what currently is happening so they can better understand the movement of the play. For instance, after the conversation between Death and Apollo the Chorus comes on stage to draw the audiences' attention to the death of Alcestis. They start by asking, "Do you hear the cry of a woman?" (Euripides 38). Immediately, the audience becomes curious about where the queen is and what has happened to her. The Chorus helps to move the attention from the conversation between Apollo and Death to the central part of the play -- the death of Alcestis. They are the first to say, "The queen is dead," (Euripides 53). ...read more.

Conclusion

This is the only logical argument the Chorus can come up with for why Alcestis had to die in her husband's place. The lack of reason for her death causes the audience to be even more sympathetic towards her death. At her funeral the Chorus speaks of how heroic her action was, "So beautiful in love, so strong and brave, you gave your life to take his place in death! For love you went below. Rest peacefully, Alcestis," (Euripides 55). Alcestis' death is her most noble act. The fact that she would give her life for her husband, truly shows how brave she was. The Chorus emphasizes this sacrifice throughout the play to ensure the audience knows how strong she was. It is clear the chorus serves many purposes in Ancient Greek dramas. As seen, Euripides uses the chorus as the most important element in his play; without them the audience would not be able to fully appreciate the complexity of his characterization and the subtlety of his plot structure. The many aspects the Chorus took part in helped to further the audiences' ability to see the irony of Euripides' play. ...read more.

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