free booknotes online

Help / FAQ




<- Previous Page | First Page | Next Page ->
MonkeyNotes-Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles
Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version

The chorus in Oedipus At Colonus

In the play, Sophocles uses the chorus to represent the ordinary citizens of Colonus. Through them he is able to examine, in fuller detail, all the ramifications of the central dramatic action. On occasion, they even partake in the main action. These citizens of Colonus are loyal to their state of Athens, their king Theseus, and their Gods. They respect the rule of law and the values of family life and society. Therefore, it is no surprise that in their first appearance on stage they castigate Oedipus for violating the sanctity of the grove dedicated to the Furies and other prominent Greek gods.

The Chorus' reaction to this intrusion is typical of their self- interest. While honoring their gods by chasing Oedipus out of the grove, they fail to honor their fellow humans. In fact, on discovering the true identity of Oedipus, they are even more alarmed and beg him to leave Colonus, for they fear that this ill- fated ex-king of Thebes may bring a scourge on them too. It is only Antigone's pleas to let her and her father stay that finally touches the deep chord of compassion that lies within the heart of the chorus. Still they cannot decide how to treat Oedipus until Theseus arrives. The magnanimity of Theseus' reception of Oedipus transforms the chorus too, as they fully respect their king and his wish to protect the weary wanderer. From then on, the chorus behaves as nobly to Oedipus as Theseus does.

The actions of the great often have serious repercussions on the lives of the common populace, and so they react appropriately to the action occurring on stage. The chorus reveal, in their speech and deeds, the simple logic and pure commonsense of the every day plebeian world. In the choric "kommos" of Episode I, they procure a confession from Oedipus and advise him about how to atone for his sins by performing propitiatory rituals.


In Episode III, when Oedipus is reunited to his daughters, the chorus rejoices in this happy family scene. They note with growing concern the news of Polyneices' arrival, as they know how it can affect Athens' uneasy relations with Thebes. Because they observe the turn of events from close quarters, they have the authority to review or comment on them. They serve as a mental or emotional foil to the central figures (as in the final scene where they offer consolation to Ismene and Antigone, on the death of Oedipus, and advise them to curb their excessive grief) as well as witnesses.

Sophocles uses amazingly varied patterns for the chorus and choral dialogues, adding to the great formal artistry of the play. The Parados is cast more in the form of a "kommos" (or Choral dialogue) rather than an ode. There are intervening dialogues in free verse among the chorus, Antigone, and Oedipus. These punctuate the regular formal strophes and anti-strophes, making the Parados a massive entry song running from lines 116 - 253.

Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version


<- Previous Page | First Page | Next Page ->
MonkeyNotes-Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles
Google
Web
PinkMonkey

Google
  Web PinkMonkey.com   

All Contents Copyright PinkMonkey.com
All rights reserved. Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.


About Us
 | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page
This page was last updated: 5/9/2017 9:53:16 AM