You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Classics & Ancient History   >   Greek Theatre: The Chorus

The Chorus in Greek Society

  • About
  • Transcript
  • Cite

Greek Theatre: The Chorus

For modern readers, the chorus is one of the most challenging aspects of Greek drama. Yet the chorus is an integral feature of both tragedy and comedy, and to engage fully with the plays, it’s essential to understand the role that it plays, and what it contributed to the experience of watching an ancient performance. Moreover, choral odes offer some of the most dazzling poetry in ancient literature. This course explores the origins of the chorus, and its role outside drama in ritual and religious occasions. It also examines the conventions that govern how the chorus behaves in drama, and investigates broader issues such as the chorus’ characterisation, its ability to influence the action, and the degree to which it offers an authoritative commentary on the action. The course finishes with a close examination of two of the most famous odes in Greek tragedy, and shows how analysing these passages gives us a richer understanding of the plays as a whole.

The Chorus in Greek Society

For the modern reader, one of the hardest aspects of studying Greek drama is the chorus. In this course, Laura argues that, for the Greeks, drama would have been unimaginable without the chorus. She starts in this module by examining the role of the chorus in Greek society and thought from Homer to Plato.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Swift, L. (2018, August 15). Greek Theatre: The Chorus - The Chorus in Greek Society [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Swift, L. "Greek Theatre: The Chorus – The Chorus in Greek Society." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,


Dr Laura Swift

Dr Laura Swift

Open University