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8/16/2018

The role of Chorus in Oedipus Rex

  As a Representative of the Citizens and of the Audience   In any consideration of Oedipus Rex  , the role of Chorus cannot be ignored. The chorus used to be an inescapable part of ancient Greek drama , and it’s role was thought to be vital. The chorus was a group of personality considering of twelve or fifteen elder citizens. This group was not intended to represent literally all of the citizens , but it did possess a representative character . Oedipus Rex  opens with a larger delegation of Theban citizens before the palace of Oedipus, while the chorus proper enters only after the prologue. Nor does the chorus speak directly to the audience all the time. The chorus represents the point of view and faith of Theban as a whole , and , by analogy, of the audience. Thus the chorus represents the citizens and the audience in a particular way---not as an organ of highly self-conscious community, something like the conscience of the race.     The Chorus, One of the “Dramatis Personae”    In its enty-song the chorus invokes the various gods and describes the misfortune which have befallen the city of Thebas. With the entry of the chorus , the list of essential dramatic personae is complete, and the main action can begin. It is the function of the chorus to mark the stage of the action, and to perform the suffering and perceiving part of the tragic rhythm.      The Chorus as the upholder of Religious Piety    The role of the chorus as the upholder of religious Piety and sanctity is note-worthy . The chorus in its songs expresses an unfaltering faith in the Oracles. It deplores and condemns the general decline in religion and plays to the gods to restore people ‘s faith in the Oracle and in religious observances. It advocates a strict adherence to laws framed by the gods. In short, the chorus is a champion of religious sanctity and it draws , too , moral lessons from the various happenings as for instance, the lesson, drawn from the scene of discovery, that human happiness is short-lived.      The Participation of the Chorus in the Dialogue   The songs not the only medium through which the chorus expresses its reactions to the changing and developing plot. The chorus also sometimes take part in the Dialogue and , therefore, in the action even though it is unable to influence the course of events in any appreciable manner. After Oedipus has proclaimed his purpose of tracing Laius ‘s murderer and has uttered a course upon the criminal, the the chorus expresses the view that the Oracle should have indicated the identity of the criminal. When Oedipus replies that a cannot be compelled to speak against his own will, the chorus suggests that the Prophet, Teiresias , should be requested to come and help in the investigation. Chorus plays many other Times more in action in this tragedy.  Providing a Chance of  scene  It is also note-worthy that the chorus occasionally provides a change of the scene which the audience is to imagine. During the scene between Oedipus and Teiresias, the attention of the audience is focused upon their clash and the scene is literal , close and immediate: before Oedipus palace. When they depart and the choral music starts, the focus suddenly widens and the audience feels as if it had been removed to a distance. The audience becomes aware of the interested city around the bright arena.      The Manifold use of Chorus   There are times when we feel the chorus to be an encumbrance and wish that it were not there. On the other hand, the Greek dramatists realized the many important uses which the chorus could be made to serve. It could expound the past, comment on present, and forebode the future. It provided the dramatists with a mouth-piece and the spectator with a counterpart of himself. One of the most important functions of the chorus was to reveal , in its widest and most mysterious extent , the theatre of human life which the play assumed. Even when the chorus did not speak, but only watched it, maintained this theme and this perspective—ready to take the whole stage when the main characters departed . The chorus also formed a living foreground of common humanity above which the heroes towered , and a living background of pure poetry which turned lamentation into music and horror into peace. It provided a well separating the drama from the real world, and it served at the same time as a bridge between the heroic figure of legend and the average humanity of the audience. The master of Greek drama used the chorus, with eminent success, for the creation of atmosphere, of contrast , of escape and relief. Oedipus Rex illustrates this in an abundant measure. According to Aristotle, a Sophoclean Chorus is a character that takes an important role in the play, instead of merely making incidental music between the scene as in the plays of Euripides.


As a Representative of the Citizens and of the Audience


In any consideration of Oedipus Rex  , the role of Chorus cannot be ignored. The chorus used to be an inescapable part of ancient Greek drama , and it’s role was thought to be vital. The chorus was a group of personality considering of twelve or fifteen elder citizens. This group was not intended to represent literally all of the citizens , but it did possess a representative character . Oedipus Rex  opens with a larger delegation of Theban citizens before the palace of Oedipus, while the chorus proper enters only after the prologue. Nor does the chorus speak directly to the audience all the time. The chorus represents the point of view and faith of Theban as a whole , and , by analogy, of the audience. Thus the chorus represents the citizens and the audience in a particular way---not as an organ of highly self-conscious community, something like the conscience of the race.


The Chorus, One of the “Dramatis Personae” 

In its enty-song the chorus invokes the various gods and describes the misfortune which have befallen the city of Thebas. With the entry of the chorus , the list of essential dramatic personae is complete, and the main action can begin. It is the function of the chorus to mark the stage of the action, and to perform the suffering and perceiving part of the tragic rhythm.


The Chorus as the upholder of Religious Piety 

The role of the chorus as the upholder of religious Piety and sanctity is note-worthy . The chorus in its songs expresses an unfaltering faith in the Oracles. It deplores and condemns the general decline in religion and plays to the gods to restore people ‘s faith in the Oracle and in religious observances. It advocates a strict adherence to laws framed by the gods. In short, the chorus is a champion of religious sanctity and it draws , too , moral lessons from the various happenings as for instance, the lesson, drawn from the scene of discovery, that human happiness is short-lived.


The Participation of the Chorus in the Dialogue

The songs not the only medium through which the chorus expresses its reactions to the changing and developing plot. The chorus also sometimes take part in the Dialogue and , therefore, in the action even though it is unable to influence the course of events in any appreciable manner. After Oedipus has proclaimed his purpose of tracing Laius ‘s murderer and has uttered a course upon the criminal, the the chorus expresses the view that the Oracle should have indicated the identity of the criminal. When Oedipus replies that a cannot be compelled to speak against his own will, the chorus suggests that the Prophet, Teiresias , should be requested to come and help in the investigation. Chorus plays many other Times more in action in this tragedy.
Providing a Chance of  scene
It is also note-worthy that the chorus occasionally provides a change of the scene which the audience is to imagine. During the scene between Oedipus and Teiresias, the attention of the audience is focused upon their clash and the scene is literal , close and immediate: before Oedipus palace. When they depart and the choral music starts, the focus suddenly widens and the audience feels as if it had been removed to a distance. The audience becomes aware of the interested city around the bright arena.


The Manifold use of Chorus

There are times when we feel the chorus to be an encumbrance and wish that it were not there. On the other hand, the Greek dramatists realized the many important uses which the chorus could be made to serve. It could expound the past, comment on present, and forebode the future. It provided the dramatists with a mouth-piece and the spectator with a counterpart of himself. One of the most important functions of the chorus was to reveal , in its widest and most mysterious extent , the theatre of human life which the play assumed. Even when the chorus did not speak, but only watched it, maintained this theme and this perspective—ready to take the whole stage when the main characters departed . The chorus also formed a living foreground of common humanity above which the heroes towered , and a living background of pure poetry which turned lamentation into music and horror into peace. It provided a well separating the drama from the real world, and it served at the same time as a bridge between the heroic figure of legend and the average humanity of the audience. The master of Greek drama used the chorus, with eminent success, for the creation of atmosphere, of contrast , of escape and relief. Oedipus Rex illustrates this in an abundant measure. According to Aristotle, a Sophoclean Chorus is a character that takes an important role in the play, instead of merely making incidental music between the scene as in the plays of Euripides.

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