The Chorus as a Homonym Essay

The Chorus as a Homonym Essay

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In Jean Anouilh’s Antigone and in Euripides’s Medea the Chorus is both a tool for characterization and representation of theme; however, the ways they function in their respective plays are noticeably different. The differences in the way the Choruses function in each respective play make the name of the character “the Chorus” a homonym, same name different meaning.
The Chorus in Antigone functions to incorporate the technique of metatheatre. The purpose of metatheatre is to provide a separation between the audience and the actors in the play through “constant direct and indirect reminders that what [the audience] is watching is a play” (Freeman xxxvii). The first instance of a reminder is when the Prologue steps forward from the Chorus and describes each character and provides a quick plot summary of what is to come. The distancing of the audience from the play is effective because it aids them to think more deeply about the choices that Antigone makes and the value of her choice to die rather than focus solely on the tragedy of her death. A critic of tragedies could argue that this distancing through metatheatre “destroys the tragic impact” of the play, but if one looks more closely the tragic impact is found not in the physical death of Antigone but in her “realization that she is in the wrong” and must still die anyways because she is bound to her part (Freeman xxxix). Another instance of a reminder that the audience is watching a play is when the Chorus interrupts the plot to give a brief lesson on the differences between a drama and a tragedy to emphasize that Antigone is a tragedy. The purpose of this lesson is not only to emphasize that Antigone is a tragedy but also to remind the audience that “there [is] no lousy h...


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...he Chorus to reason with Medea and lead her down a more rational path.
Although the purposes of the Chorus in Anouilh’s tragedy Antigone and Euripides’s drama Medea differ, both serve to leave an effect on the respective audiences. While the Chorus in Antigone distances the audience from emotional attachment to the characters, the Chorus in Medea makes the audience sympathize with them for Medea. Their separate techniques in portraying characterization and theme also changes the way the audience views each play. Anouilh’s Chorus in Antigone forces the audience to think deeply and draw conclusions on the nature of each character while the Chorus in Euripides’s Medea is a supplement to the characterizing Medea and Jason.




Works Cited

Anouilh, Jean. Antigone. Methuen Drama: London, 2000. Print.
Euripides. Medea. Dover Publications: New York, 1993. Print.

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