A Discussion About the Different Roles of the Chorus in Oedipus The King by Sophocles

Oedipus the King is a timeless Greek tragedy by Sophocles in which the Chorus plays a major part. They provide a type of narrative, and a citizen s point of view throughout the play. There is something to be said about the different roles the Chorus takes on throughout the play. The first speech is a Choral Ode to the Gods. It takes place just after the Chorus finds out about Oedipusi search for the murderer of Laius. They are begging for help and deliverance from the plague which has fallen since his death. The speech is rich with descriptive language and vibrant images. Most of the images are frightening and telling of Thebesi dismay and horrors, such as I…life on life goes down you can watch them go like seabirds winging west, outracing the dayis fire down the horizon, irresistibly streaking on to the shores of Evening Death…I and IThebes is dying, look, her children stripped of pity…generations strewn on the ground unburied, unwept, the dead spreading death…. The citizens are scared to death of what is happening, and this speech is definitely telling of that. The role they take on is fairly compliant and fearful of the gods.

The second speech follows the huge argument between Oedipus and Tiresias. The Chorus is in outrage. They are determined also to find this Oruthless…man who left no tracel that murdered their king, Laius. This speech is again full of riveting images. The role of the chorus is different in this speech, they are loud and defiant. The chorus vows to stay loyal to their king, and I believe thatIs why they are so angry, because deep down they fear the worst, that Tiresiasi prophecy is true. INo, not till I see these charges proved will I side with his accusers. My favorite quote from this particular Choral speech is I…the dark wings beating around him shrieking doom, the doom that never dies, the terror-O It is graphically descriptive and really puts a mental picture in your head. Of course irony and ironic images surround the speech as well. When the Chorus asks Iwhat could breed a blood feud between Laiusi house and the son of Polybus?0, when, in fact, they are one in the same. A recurring motif in this speech, as well as the play as a whole, is the ironic imagery of Tiresiasi physical blindness, but his ability to see the truth, and Oedipusi denial of his destiny, and then his eventual blindness in the end. The last statement is very unsteady, fearful. INever will I convict my king, never in my heart.

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The Chorus is so loyal to Oedipus that even with this shred of doubt that they now hold having heard Tiresiasi prophecy, they still vow complete faith in the king; even in his guilt, they respect him. The third Great Choral Address (p 209) shows the Chorus as defiant and kindof proud in itself even though they talk about how IPride breeds the tyrant.) It starts out talking about destiny, how destiny is all planned and no man has any power over his own. The chorus loves the gods and dare not defy them, but with the recent knowledge of a prophecy of Apollo once before not being fulfilled, (which is dramatically ironic), they question them. The Chorus puts the gods to a sort of test by saying bunless these prophecies all come true…. [we arenit going to believe in you any more]. The Chorus feels empowered with this false knowledge. The Chorus finds it comforting. The Chorus is essential to the play. They help bring you back down into the commoners view point and understand the play more. I think the Choral Odes utilize some of the more beautiful language in the play. Also, when you re reading along, getting more and more frusterated, tearing your hair out because you cant understand why Jocasta and Oedipus canit put 2 and 2 together (math imagery? ) and see that hels her son, you remember the Chorus, and you can see how they are trying so hard not to believe, that it almost isnit true.

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A Discussion About the Different Roles of the Chorus in Oedipus The King by Sophocles. (2022, Sep 13). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/a-discussion-about-the-different-roles-of-the-chorus-in-oedipus-the-king-by-sophocles/