Analysis of chorus in Oedipus
The chorus is like a peanut-gallery. Sophocles uses this group of Thebans to comment on the play action and foreshadow future events. In a play, the chorus plays a very vital role, it adds complexity and depth to the storyline and adds spice to the message that the author intends to portray. It is inaccurate to think that the chorus interferes with our understanding of the play. Even though the chorus adds complexity, this does not mean that it will distract the audience understanding of the play. The role of the chorus in Oedipus and Madea is that it extends our inner understanding since it comments on the actions with their analysis. The chorus helps to deliver the roles of the characters therefore enhancing individuals captures the deeper meaning of the play.
The chorus in Oedipus the king describes and speculates on every major incident that is present in the play. In the play, it acts as the citizens of Thebes. Through the chorus, we see the citizens praying to their gods and this is evident at the beginning of the chorus. In the setting, it is detailed as follows,” Beyond all telling, the city reeks with death in her streets, death-bringing. Non weeps and her children die, none by to pity mother at ever alter kneel. Golden Athena, come near to your crying! Apollo hears us and heals!" The chant in the chorus helps the audience to figure out how women knelt down to the gods mourning the misfortunes affecting the Thebes people. In the chorus, Teiresias informs us that Oedipus was the cause of the plagues and he is the one who had contributed to the misfortunes. This makes the audience very shocked.
The chorus tends to react to events as they emerge in a more general way though not consistent. The chorus brings out the need for calm and stability. The chorus pleads with Oedipus not to expel Creon (725-730) for fear of a curse. It goes ahead to asks about the wisdom of actions that were taken by Antigone’s (909-960). In such an event, the chorus seems to promote and maintain the status quo which can be attributed to a negative thing. The chorus is nervous and complacent and it expects to avoid commotion and distraction. The treatment of Teiresias and Creon is influenced by the chorus. It ensures that it calms the high reactions that emerge. It recognizes the quick judgment made by Oedipus and claims that he is wrong due to his quick actions. The audience understands what is said by Teiresias and Creon and it is understood that it’s only Oedipus who can take decisive actions.
In the end of Oedipus the king, it creates a conflict in understanding between the people of Thebes and the audience. The message that the chorus sends to the audience is of complete despair. It says that, “count no man happy till he dies, free of pain at last” (1684). Since the chorus cannot be regarded as one of the characters in the play, it creates a false sense of closure to the audience. This means that it makes one feel as if Oedipus is dead but the last line paints another reaction of relief. It is important for the audience to note that Oedipus is not dead. He is only miserable and wonders throughout his life. Both Oedipus and the audience have nothing in mind of what the future holds in hand. The chorus is used by the author to involve the audience and they become emotionally attached to the play in a great way. The chorus helps to bring out clear the tragedy in the play. The chorus aims to emphasize that people only learn through suffering but Sophocles feels different creating a conflict.
There exists much contrast between Oedipus and the Chorus and this is very protuberant in stage production. This seems less popular to the audience. The contrast helps to ensure that the play is acted in a decisively way. The chorus wants certain actions to be taken and it helps the audience to be aware of their own limitations, fear and ready to face the unknown. It goes ahead to bring out clear the fate of Oedipus, acknowledging the terror in the play. “My fearful heart twists on the rack and shakes with fear. O Delian healer, for whom we cry aloud in holy awe, what obligation will you demand from me, a thing unknown or now renewed with the revolving years? Immortal voice, O child of golden Hope, speak to me!”(185-191).
Analysis of chorus in Medea
Its role is composed of the Corinthian women; this aspect draws the first connection between them and Medea. It follows her through her journey both physically and verbally. Verbally means narrating important events and ideas as introduced to the play while physical is in their constant presence.
The major role of the chorus in Medea is to influence our response to actions of Medea both in a positive, as well as negative way. Fifteen Corinthian women sings the chorus and they involve the audience together with the actors of the play. The chorus leads the audience in an indirect way to be sympathetic with Medea. It makes the audience to accept the tricky decisions by Medea in accepting the revenge decision taken on princess Glauce and Jason. In a negative perspective, the Chorus by the Corinthian women, makes the audience pleads with Medea despite the fact that she killed children in the play. The chorus is responsible in creating an influence towards the responses of the audience.
The chorus influence shapes our response and we develop a sense of pity and sympathy towards Medea. The role of the Chorus is to bring out clear Medea situation in relation to the audience plight. It says that, "I heard her voice, I heard that unhappy woman from Colchis still crying, not calm yet."(690) and also, "I heard her sobbing and wailing, shouting shrill, pitiful accusations against her husband who has betrayed her. She invokes Themis, daughter of Zeus, who witnessed those promises which drew her across from Asia to Hellas, setting sail at night, threading the salt strait, key and barrier to the Pontic Sea."
In the above lines, the chorus explains to us how Medea used to travel for long distances and sacrifices her life for Jason but he decides to betray her. It goes on to inform us on how Medea reacts to her situation and this makes us to be sympathetic towards her and we feel sorry due to the feelings that are created. The chorus first explains the bad things that had taken place but it makes us agree with the decision of Medea to take revenge towards Jason. The chorus creates an atmosphere of feelings that triggers the audience to feel sympathy towards Medea actions on Jason.
Despite Media and Oedipus being tragic plays, they have very many differences. The chorus in Oedipus clearly shows the way he avoided the fate that he was experiencing. The chorus uses foreshadowing to show how fate was avoided but it still happened due to the actions that were taken. The chorus is different in the way that it helps us to see tragedy in the play. It’s tragic since Oedipus had once saved Thebes’s city but later he becomes a blind beggar and he is exiled from Thebes despite the fact that he once ruled it.
More clear difference comes clear when the audience feels more pity on Oedipus compared to Medea. This is because Oedipus is seen as an individual who had a determined destiny whereas Medea is characterized by free-will. There comes a time where the audience feels pity for Medea due to the actions of her husband. Later on, Medea goes on to murder her two sons at the end but we still feel pity and we are sorrowful. The behavior of Medea makes her appear to be a very treacherous woman. This makes the audience to get angry they frown towards her inhuman actions. This makes them to view her in a very negative way.
The Medea chorus is more down to earth and it gives a chance to the audience to relate with the play characters. The chorus also creates sympathy for the heroine and it assures her that she had taken the right decision. On the other hand, the Oedipus chorus acts in a way that it looks so superior. This is very different as the Corinthian women regards themselves as Medea’s equals, their friend and are willing to help her. In Oedipus, the chorus appears as a mentor but not as a close friend. The chorus in Medea sympathizes with her not to murder her sons but such a thing could not be allowed in Oedipus chorus due to the high dignity he stood by.