The Burial At Thebes By Seamus Heaney Essay example

1016 Words Jul 29th, 2016 null Page
What is the role of the Chorus and what does it contribute to The Burial at Thebes?
Seamus Heaney’s 2004 play The Burial at Thebes is a modern translation of Sophocles’ Antigone. Unlike many modern adaptations and translations, Heaney retains the original format of the classic Greek theatrical tragedy. His use of the traditional Sophoclean Chorus brings the audience into the action of the play as their main function in Heaney’s work is to serve as both the “ideal spectator” and as the narrator of the play. They offer a moral viewpoint for the audience to follow as they, as a chorus of elderly Theban men, represent the polis of Thebes and by extension the audience itself (Parker, S. P., 1983). The Chorus was a feature of Ancient Greek tragic theatre that consisted of a group of twelve to fifteen men (depending on the period in which the play was produced/performed), who would perform in the orchestra, singing, dancing and reciting their choral odes in between the play’s episodes. They provided a number of different contributions to the play; such as offering a commentary on different moral, social and political issues, and offering advice to various characters on stage.
The Sophoclean Chorus (used in both Antigone and in The Burial at Thebes) differs from the earlier Greek choruses in that the actors in the Orchestra actually interact with the drama on stage. They play an active part in discussing the socio-political and religious issues within the play – often speaking in…

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