Analyse the Dramatic Uses of the Chorus in Greek Tragedy; in What Ways Do Traces of the Choric Function Occur in Twentieth-Century Drama?

3335 WordsApr 30, 200614 Pages
The full influence of Greek tragedy upon our modern theatre is incomprehensible, with the mainstays of theatrical convention largely demonstrating roots within Greek tragedy. The choric function is just one of these conventions. This essay hopes to explore various uses of the Chorus within Greek tragedies by Aeschylus and Sophocles, and then to analyse how traits of a Greek Chorus, and the choric function can be found within 20th Century Theatre. The Chorus in Greek tragedy was a large group (it is suggested between 12 and 30) of people who sang or chanted songs and poems that helped set the scene of the play, bring the audience up to date with the events preceding the play and inform the audience of any political or social consequences…show more content…
They explain, ‘Fear's a good gateman to stand guard of the passions' (page 100). For Sophocles the Chorus has yet again a more reduced role, as more actors are introduced into his plays. The focus yet again turns towards dialogue between characters, and away from interaction purely between actor and Chorus. The Sophoclean Chorus is not emotionally separate from the action, it is involved emotively with the story being portrayed, and can show sympathy (and in contrast, hatred) towards the events on the stage. In Sophocles' Oedipus the King the Chorus function as witnesses to the downfall of Oedipus from proud monarch to blind, helpless man. The Chorus' first speech to Oedipus describes the plague that has infected the city. As Oedipus insists he wants to find the murderer of Laius, the Chorus suggest that he ask Teiresias (page 194). The Chorus here prompts the actor to step further towards his impending fate. The Chorus also prove to be a calming influence, trying to mediate between Teiresias, Oedipus, Creon and Jocasta at various points within the play. They also are still optimistic when the truth is nearly out, telling Oedipus to, ‘hope, until you hear from the man who saw what happened' (page 216). The Chorus within

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