The Chorus And Oedipus The King WQuotes

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The Chorus And Oedipus The King W/Quotes Essay, Research Paper THE CHORUS and OEDIPUS the KING Oedipus the King, by Sophocles, is one of the more renowned Greek tragedies in existence. It’s fast pace and surprising close are why the tragedy is so popular, yet it is not very long and only has 6 main characters; 4 main family members, a priest of Zeus, and the chorus. In Oedipus the chorus is the character that represents the community of Thebes, the city of Oedipus’ ruling. Neither of the other works of literature we studied, The Odyssey (Homer) nor Gilgamesh placed such an emphasis on the people the kings ruled. Yet, Sophocles gives them a character with many lines to express the thoughts of the community, offer advice, and foreshadow the impeding doom. Simply enough,

these seem like the tasks of any chorus, however, this chorus has one characteristic that sets it apart. This chorus plays the part of Oedipus’ conscience at times, taunting him and tormenting him, they may drive him to gouging out his eyes in the end. The actual play of Oedipus has the chorus as a group of dancers, who, in tight organized clusters, dance and chant around the main characters. The chorus gives Oedipus a great sense of belonging and throughout he is eager to please his people. There was a plague that struck the city suddenly. The people of Thebes turned immediately to their leader to save the city from death and destruction. Oedipus responds valiantly to their distresses and vows to end the plague no matter the consequences. “Oh my children, the new blood of

ancient Thebes, why are you here? Huddling at my altar, praying before me, your branches wound in wool. Our city reeks with the smoke of burning incense, ring with cries for the Healer and wailing for the dead. I thought it wrong, my children, to hear the truth from others, messengers. Here I am myself- you all know me, the world knows my fame: I am Oedipus,”(Sophocles pg. 590 line 1-8) It is evident that Oedipus cares for his people and is eager to find out why the city is in turmoil. He goes on to help up a Priest and begs him to proclaim the reason for the misery.”Our city- look around you, see with your own eye- our ship pitches wildly, cannot lift her head from the depths. The red waves of death Thebes is dying. A blight on the fresh crops and the rich pastures, cattle

sicken and die, and the women die in labor, children stillborn, and the plague “(Sophocles pg. 591 lines 27-32).The chorus pleads for his help to the lift the curse of the gods. Oedipus pities them, and valiantly agrees to help lift the plague as a good ruler would. Later Oedipus hears from Creon, Oedipus’ wife Jocasta’s brother, that the plague is caused by the murder of King Laius. Only when the murderer is killed or exiled will the plague be lifted. Oedipus vows to find the murderer for the sake of his people and his own safety. Oedipus often finds himself accepting advice. Usually that advice would come from the chorus. The chorus loves their king and offers good advice in the time of crisis. They help him keep a level head nearly throughout, and advise him against

doing anything too brash. The chorus defends their kingdom and those in it. They even defended Creon when Oedipus accused him of plotting to stab him in the back. The chorus calmed Oedipus and saved the relationship between he and Creon. “Oedipus: Precisely. I caught him in the act, Jocasta, plotting, about to stab me in the back. Creon: Never – curse me, let me die and be damned if I’ve done you any wrong you charge me with Chorus: Believe it, be sensible give way, my king, I beg you! Respect him – he’s been no fool in the past and now he’s strong with the oath he swears to god The man’s your friend, your kin, he’s under oath – don’t cast him out, disgraced branded with guilt on the strength of hearsay only,”(Sophocles pg. 608, lines 725-733). Oedipus