The Chorus

in The Theatricality of Greek Tragedy

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780226477572
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226477565 | DOI:
The Chorus

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The problem of the chorus (choros, choroi) is central to our contemporary understanding of the Greek tragedy, and it is deeply frustrating. On the one hand, we sense that here is something vital, perhaps almost mystical, operating powerfully and evocatively throughout the action and theatricality of the plays. On the other hand, our initial fascination and excitement can gradually dissolve into resignation. This chapter reviews the problem of the tragic choros by considering the choros as it first appears, in the narrative of the Greek epics, and tracing the diversity of choroi and composition for them. It then looks at music and dancing before turning to the theatrical choroi of the dithyramb, the satyr play, comedy, and tragedy. The chapter refers to Homer and other composers from a similar period who make use of or adapt epic diction.

Keywords: chorus; Greek tragedy; epics; composition; music; dancing; dithyramb; satyr play; comedy; Homer

Chapter.  40525 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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