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The importance of the role of the choir in the Greek tragedy of Sophocles, Antigone

Enviado por   •  17 de Noviembre de 2013  •  1.031 Palabras (5 Páginas)  •  1.843 Visitas

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In the Greek Tragedy the role of the Chorus is very important in the development of the play. The Greek chorus is a non-individualized group of performers in the plays of classical Greece who comment with a collective voice on the dramatic action. Originally, the Chorus consisted of fifty members. This number was decreased to twelve by Sophocles. The Greek Chorus offered a variety of background and summary information to help the audience follow the performance that was being played. Also, the chorus expressed to the audience what the main characters could not say, such as their hidden fears or secrets. In some plays; like Antigone, where the Chorus is played by the Theban Elders; the Chorus often provided characters with the insight they needed. We can see this when the Theban Elders insist on Creon to take Tiresias’s advice and free Antigone. Creon, of course, finally agrees to do this, but unfortunately it's far too late.

In every ancient Greek tragedy, the first time we hear the Chorus is when they sing their “parados.” This is when the Chorus performs a parade-like entrance where they would sing and dance. In Antigone, Sophocles uses the “parados” to give back-story. The Chorus sings terrible battle that has just been fought. Sophocles also establishes the sense that the people of Thebes are furious at Polyneices for betraying his brother Eteocles and attacking them. This helps to strengthen Creon's position about his decision for giving the order of not burying Polyneices.

The next time the audience hears the Chorus is in the first Ode. This Ode is better known as the “Ode to man.” It is known like this because in here, the Chorus sings about all the wonderful accomplishments of man and how wonderful man is. This is proven in the play when the Chorus sings, “Numberless are the world’s wonders, but none more wonderful than man; the stormgray…” The Chorus ends the "Ode to Man" by praising the laws of the city. In Antigone’s case it ends by saying, “O fate of man, working both good and evil! When laws are kept, how proudly his city stands! When laws are broken, what of this city then?”

After the “Ode to Man,” The chorus has other odes during the play and each of them has its own significance. In Antigone, Sophocles uses the second choral ode to relate the tragic history of Oedipus's family. Oedipus is Creon’s brother and the father of Antigone and the deceased brothers. This ode complements the scene before in which Ismene, Antigone’s sister, attempts to go to her death along with her sister Antigone. In the third choral ode the Chorus sings about love. Here the Chorus comments on the previous scene where Haimon begs for the life of his love Antigone but to no avail. The fourth ode gives the audience some information about other mythic figures and about Hades’ river in the underworld. The tone of the terrible tales in this ode seems


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