How important do you think is the Chorus in Sophocles’ Antigone?
At the start of greek drama, there was only one actor on the orchestra and even later there was no more than three actors on stage. The Chorus was there to distract the audience as they clearly needed when the actors went off stage to change. The function of the Chorus is may have been a little more for a ‘practical’ than with any kind of artistic or philosophical reasons. The Chorus in Antigone, written by Sophocles, is not very typical of Greek drama. And this is what makes it so different from the other plays. The Chorus of Thebes is comprised of Theban elders, vital for the maintaining of the order in the city. The men that compose the chorus are ordinary people that are loyal to their state, the Gods and also the laws of the state. The Chorus have a strong knowledge of common values concerning family and society (at the time). There are many questions that can be thought of when reading the Chorus during the course of the play but the fundamental question that has to be thought of the it to have an understanding is the following. ‘What is the importance of the Chorus in the play?’ The question is very broad, which can give a lot of detail in the answer but also be limiting if it is only partly understood. What I like to think of it as to understand the question is: ‘Think of the play as it is. The characters are still the same. The story plot is the same. The outcomes and turn outs of the events are the same. But only one thing is changing, and missing. The Chorus. To relatively find out how important and how worthy the Chorus is. Imagine the play without the chorus. Would the story still make sense or would it be inexplicably weird? This is why I believe that the Chorus is necessary and crucial to the play and that the Chorus’ importance is very high all throughout the story.
To start off, one of the main and obvious reason of the existence of the chorus and its importance has to do with the understanding of the play. The Chorus is in a way explaining the action that is going on the stage to the audience. This is to make sure that the audience understands what is going on. The Chorus gives it’s point of view to the audience and also makes sure that they have enough background information that will guaranty that they will follow with a good level of understanding of the play. Krish Aamer on his Website on the Ancient Greek Choruses has put together a decent grouping on the start and the early days of the Chorus. With a view shared by many; in the older days, the Chorus would have provided a deeper more solid and a more meaningful understanding of the characters before the audience. The Chorus would also allow the play-write for some certain scene that were key in the play. The Chorus was the unit that could give a ‘pause’ in the play by interfering. Following their words, momentum could be built and excitement. On the other hand, the Chorus could also, in a way, slow down the tempo. If I was to describe the Chorus in a modern world for this. I could compare them to the music in the video and movies. The music nowadays is a way for the movie directors to know how to make you feel about each scene. They are basically controlling the emotions so that they can make you feel a certain way about each things. Well, Sophocles used the same technique more than 2000 thousand years earlier. He used the Chorus to make you feel someway with them trying to tell you something at another perspective to make the audience feel in a certain way. Page 9 Line 91 is the first appearance of the Chorus in the play. They ‘cut in’ and ‘appear’ right after the first dialogue of the play which is a dialogue in between Ismene and Antigone. Antigone wants to bury Polynieces but Ismene AKA The Typical Good Greek Girl does not want to get involved in it. The two sisters argue and they bring back family trouble. The