The History Of The Greek Chorus. Essay

2115 WordsMay 21, 20119 Pages
Discuss the history and evolution of the greek chorus. The Greek chorus is a group of actors who narrate and comment upon the action that is occurring within the play. Their role in the play was to explain the action that was unfolding, interpret the action in relation to the law of the state and the law of the Olympian gods, to foresee and comment on the future, to sing and dance and work as an actor and to translate and interpret the author’s views and meaning (Michael J. Cummings. 2003). When referring to Greek Tragedy there were three prolific writers who influenced the theatre as we know it today; they were Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.), Sophocles (496-406 B.C.) and Euripides (480-406 B.C.). Each of these three writes included the character of the chorus in their plays. The tragedies that they were writing drew on the same “reservoir of stories about the distant heroic past and its great dynasties and wars, especially those set at Thebes and Troy (Brown J.R. 1995). The chorus in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King played a very important role in the progression of the play and I have come to discover just how much of and influence the role of the chorus has continued to have throughout history and how it has developed and evolved in performance and theatre throughout the centuries. To a modern reader who has had little exposure to ancient Greek theatre, one of the most unusual elements of the play will be the role of the Greek chorus as it is not as prevalent in modern theatre as a theatrical convention. Modern readers can often find the chorus to be “intrusive and irrelevant” (Hall, 1994, pg xxix), however, it can be argued that the chorus is in fact one of the most pivotal characters within the play itself, as without the commentary and narration that they provide, a lot of the plays themes and ideas could otherwise be overlooked. In many of the ancient Greek

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