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MonkeyNotes-Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles
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The first stasimon is simple in form and has two pairs of strophe and anti-strophe. The serenity and beauty of this ode to the natural world surrounding Athens contrasts sharply with the terrifying arrival of Creon that ensues in the second stasimon. This one takes up the theme of war and ends with a prayer for peace and security. The chorus serves the special function of narrating what dramatic action occurs offstage by providing graphic verbal pictures such as the clamorous battle between Theseus and Creon for the daughters of Oedipus.

The third stasimon has a pattern of strophe, anti-strophe and epode. Here, the major Themes alluded to are the passage of time, the gaining of knowledge through experience, and the inevitability of death. The chorus stresses the pessimistic view that not to be born is perhaps the best thing for mortals. In the fourth stasimon the chorus chants a single strophe and anti-strophe, whose theme is death and the after-life. This is called the Thunder chorus (as ominous claps of thunder heralding Oedipus' death are heard). The chorus creates a terrifying impact with their words that cover the mysterious death sequence of Oedipus.


The chorus is given the final utterance of the play which may serve as a kind of moral (or summing up) of the play's ultimate meaning:

"Now come, cease your lamentation; lift it up no more; These things are with authority".

An effect of grand opera can be seen in Greek tragedy due to the rich musical experience that the proper use of the chorus creates. Through the intricate choreography employed, the chorus also created spectacular effects in the grand sweep and dignified patterns of their stage movements. Much of the dramatic force of Oedipus At Colonus springs from the sharp contrasts between the musical choric passages and the high rhetoric of the purely dramatic parts. The chorus creates levels of deep pathos, grave beauty, quiet intensity, and passionate grief as befits the differing moods of the play.

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