The Chorus as a Homonym

1168 Words Jun 25th, 2018 5 Pages
In Jean Anouilh’s Antigone and in Euripides’s Medea the Chorus is both a tool for characterization and representation of theme; however, the ways they function in their respective plays are noticeably different. The differences in the way the Choruses function in each respective play make the name of the character “the Chorus” a homonym, same name different meaning. The Chorus in Antigone functions to incorporate the technique of metatheatre. The purpose of metatheatre is to provide a separation between the audience and the actors in the play through “constant direct and indirect reminders that what [the audience] is watching is a play” (Freeman xxxvii). The first instance of a reminder is when the Prologue steps forward from the …show more content…
The guards “go on with their game of cards”, Creon leaves the site to attend the “Privy Council, and the people of Thebes “begin to forget [Antigone and Haemon] and get their names mixed up” (Anouilh 60-61). All of the metatheatrical techniques in the play to distance the audience from the tragedy keep Anouilh safe in this part from criticism from the Greek’s because otherwise they could take the heartlessness of people described offensively. The Chorus in Euripides’s Medea mainly functions as the commentator of drama, as a Chorus in a classical Greek drama would, or the voice of reason that often times sympathizes with Medea. The Chorus, made up of Corinthian women, comments on the drama in light of the morals of the Greek society of the time, such as moderation, which helps the Greek audience in understanding the play and Medea herself. Also, being the voice of reason, the Chorus not only aids the audience in understanding the play but also tries to aid Medea in understanding herself and her irrationality. The main point that the Chorus tries to explain to Medea is that she should not be hurt by Jason’s actions because “it often happens” and if she does not forget about it she will “waste away grieving too much for him” (Euripides 6). Because they are unsuccessful in proving to her she is irrational, the Chorus’s function shifts from being the voice