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Paper Topic:

Drama Essay

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May 10 , 2007

The Role of the Course In Oedipus Rex and A Midsummer Night 's Dream

The chorus plays a vital role in the storytelling of Oedipus Rex and A Midsummer Night 's Dream . The job of the chorus is to explain , to move the action along , to provide background and change the viewpoint of the audience . Puck , a mischievous servant of Oberon , fills the role of the chorus in A Midsummer Night 's Dream in Oedipus Rex , the chorus is

depicted as a group of Theban elders . In Oedipus Rex , the chorus is a stand-in for the audience or Everyman , asking questions and reacting in a manner that facilitates the storytelling . In A Midsummer Night 's Dream , Puck takes an active role in the story , providing the catalyst for the action as well as reassuring the audience and providing perspective . The first and last appearances of the choruses provide a comparison of the two roles

Puck 's first action in the play is to fetch Oberon an herb from the far side of the Earth Oberon intends to use it to cause mischief to Titania , who refuses to give up the pageboy he covets . Puck is to put the juice on the eyelids of Demetrius as well , in punishment for his cruelty to Helena , who is in love with him . However , he gives the herb to the wrong mortal , anointing Lysander 's eyelids rather than Demetrius

Weeds of Athens he doth wear

This is he , my master said

Despised the Athenian maid

And here the maiden , sleeping sound

On the dank and dirty ground

Pretty soul ! she durst not lie

Near this lack-love , this kill-courtesy

Churl , upon thy eyes I throw

All the power this charm doth owe (Shakespeare , 2004

Attempting to correct the error only worsens it , as then both Lysander and Demetrius are in love with Helena , who scorns them both and thinks they mock her . Puck has acted as a catalyst for the action of the play as well as a sort of misguided Cupid or Eros , spreading love in all the wrong places in the name of mischief

The chorus of Theban elders first enters the play after Creon tells Oedipus of the death of King Laius of Thebes the untimely death of the king has brought a plague upon the city , and the Chorus calls for assistance from the Gods . They bemoan their fate and that of the city crying out

Wasted thus by death on death

All our city perisheth

Corpses spread infection round

to tend or mourn is found

Wailing on the altar stair

Wives and grandams rend the air--

Long-drawn moans and piercing cries

Blent with prayers and litanies

Golden child of Zeus , O hear

Let thine angel face appear (Sophocles , 2002

While Puck brings the minor trouble of a love comedy , the first appearance of the Theban elders strongly foreshadows the coming events of a tragedy . The plague cannot be...

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