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Drama and Acting
Ancient Greece

What is a chorus in drama?

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May 10, 2008 12:40PM

== == A group of actors who function as a unit, called a chorus, was a characteristic feature of the Greek tragedy. The members of the chorus shared a common identity, such as Asian Bacchantes or old men of Thebes. The choragos (leader of the chorus) sometimes spoke and acted separately. In some of the plays, the chorus participated directly in the action; in others they were restricted in observing the action and commenting on it. The chorus also separated the individual sins by singing and dancing choral odes, though just what the singing and dancing were like is uncertain. The odes were in strict metrical patterns; sometimes they were direct comments on the action and characters, and at other times they were more general statements and judgments. A chorus in Greek fashion is not common in later plays, although there are instances such as T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral, in which the Women of Canterbury serve as a chorus.