Oedipus Rex

The Chorus Character Analysis

In this play, the chorus represents the elder citizens of Thebes, reacting to the events of the play. The chorus speaks as one voice, or sometimes through the voice of its leader. It praises, damns, cowers in fear, asks or offers advice, and generally helps the audience interpret the play.

The Chorus Quotes in Oedipus Rex

The Oedipus Rex quotes below are all either spoken by The Chorus or refer to The Chorus. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Oedipus Rex published in 1982.
Lines 1-340 Quotes
If ever, once in the past, you stopped some ruin
launched against our walls
you hurled the flame of pain
far, far from Thebes—you gods,
come now, come down once more!
Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker)
Page Number: 186-189
Explanation and Analysis:

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Thebes, city of death, one long cortege
and the suffering rises
wails for mercy rise
and the wild hymn for the Healer blazes out
clashing with our sobs our cries of mourning—
O golden daughter of god, send rescue
radiant as the kindness in your eyes!
Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker)
Page Number: 211-217
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lines 341-708 Quotes
But whether a mere man can know the truth,
whether a seer can fathom more than I—
there is no test, no certain proof
though matching skill for skill
a man can outstrip a rival. No, not till I see
these charges proved will I side with his accusers....
Never will I convict my king, never in my heart.
Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Oedipus
Page Number: 563-572
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Lines 709-997 Quotes
You who set our beloved land—storm-tossed, shattered—
straight on course. Now again, good helmsman,
steer us through the storm!
Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Oedipus
Page Number: 765-767
Explanation and Analysis:

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Great laws tower above us, reared on high
born for the brilliant vault of heaven—
Olympian Sky their only father,
nothing mortal, no man gave them birth,
their memory deathless, never lost in sleep:
within them lives a mighty god, the god does not
grow old.
Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker)
Page Number: 957-962
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lines 998-1310 Quotes
They are dying, the old oracles sent to Laius,
now our masters strike them off the rolls.
Nowhere Apollo's golden glory now—
the gods, the gods go down.
Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker)
Page Number: 994-997
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Lines 1311-1680 Quotes
"...is there a man more agonized?
More wed to pain and frenzy? Not a man on earth,
the joy of your life ground down to nothing
O Oedipus, name for the ages—"
Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Oedipus
Page Number: 1331-1334
Explanation and Analysis:

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Now as we keep our watch and wait the final day,
count no man happy till he dies, free of pain at last.
Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Oedipus
Page Number: 1683-1684
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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The Chorus Character Timeline in Oedipus Rex

The timeline below shows where the character The Chorus appears in Oedipus Rex. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Lines 1-340
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
The chorus, which has not heard the news from the oracle, enters and marches around an altar,... (full context)
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Sight vs. Blindness Theme Icon
Finding Out the Truth Theme Icon
Action vs. Reflection Theme Icon
...were his own father. Oedipus curses anyone who defies his orders. The leader of the chorus suggests that Oedipus send for Tiresias, the blind seer. Oedipus announces that he has already... (full context)
Lines 341-708
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Sight vs. Blindness Theme Icon
Finding Out the Truth Theme Icon
Action vs. Reflection Theme Icon
...He mocks Tiresias's blindness and calls the man a false prophet. The leader of the chorus tries to calm the two men down. Tiresias warns Oedipus that Oedipus is the blind... (full context)
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Finding Out the Truth Theme Icon
The chorus enters, chanting about the murderer of Laius, pursued now by the gods and the words... (full context)
Lines 709-997
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Finding Out the Truth Theme Icon
Action vs. Reflection Theme Icon
...Oedipus wants to have Creon banished or killed, Jocasta begs Oedipus to believe Creon. The chorus echoes her plea. Oedipus thinks that this means the Chorus also wants to see him... (full context)
Finding Out the Truth Theme Icon
Action vs. Reflection Theme Icon
Moved by the chorus's expression of loyalty, Oedipus allows Creon to go free, though he says that he still... (full context)
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Sight vs. Blindness Theme Icon
The chorus tells Oedipus to remain hopeful until he questions the witness he has sent for. Oedipus... (full context)
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Finding Out the Truth Theme Icon
Action vs. Reflection Theme Icon
The chorus, alone on stage, chants about the gods who rule the world from Olympus, striking down... (full context)
Lines 998-1310
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Sight vs. Blindness Theme Icon
Finding Out the Truth Theme Icon
Jocasta reacts sharply to this last piece of news. Meanwhile, the chorus tells Oedipus that this other shepherd, Laius's old servant, is the same man as the... (full context)
Lines 1311-1680
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Sight vs. Blindness Theme Icon
The chorus, left alone on stage, chants first of Oedipus's greatness among men, and then about how... (full context)
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Sight vs. Blindness Theme Icon
The chorus and the messenger are struck with grief and pity. Oedipus enters, but they can't bear... (full context)
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Sight vs. Blindness Theme Icon
Action vs. Reflection Theme Icon
...was his own hand that blinded himself, he claims, not the hand of fate. The chorus asks why he blinded himself instead of killing himself. Oedipus says he could not bear... (full context)
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
All exit except the Chorus, which laments that even the most powerful and skillful of men can be ruined by... (full context)