Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King

The Significance of the Chorus in Oedipus Rex

In "Oedipus Rex," the chorus represents the voice of the average citizens and contributes insight that cannot be communicated by the other characters in the play. The chorus moves along the story by announcing the arrival of characters and answering questions that help the plot progress. Sophocles also utilizes a chorus because it helps the audience to see the story from one more angle, providing a fuller picture of the situation. Representing a body of regular citizens, the chorus is level-headed, agreeably predictable, and candid, often giving voice to the thoughts and questions of the audience. Most importantly, the chorus' sympathy to Oedipus during this catastrophic period in his life pushes the audience to commiserate with the tragic hero.

The chorus serves as the primary medium between the audience and the characters of the play, revealing new perspectives to the audience that the characters themselves cannot show. Paul Roche comments in his introduction that the chorus' "function in the original (helped on by dance, spectacle, and song) was to bridge the gap between the audience and the players and to intensify emotion" (Introduction xviii). The chorus gains the audience's trust, thus...

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