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The Theatricality of Greek TragedyPlaying Space and Chorus$
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Graham Ley

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226477572

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226477565.001.0001

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The Chorus

The Chorus

(p.114) Chapter Two The Chorus
The Theatricality of Greek Tragedy
University of Chicago Press

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

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