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Friedman, J. Gassel, S. (1950). The Chorus in Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus—A Psychoanalytic Approach to Dramatic Criticism I. Psychoanal Q., 19:213-226.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:213-226

The Chorus in Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus—A Psychoanalytic Approach to Dramatic Criticism I

Joel Friedman and Sylvia Gassel

SUMMARY

It is our conclusion that the hero and the Chorus are projections of the audience's attitudes. When these two dramatic elements are analyzed, we understand the audience. We find that the hero is a collective ego, growing out of the psychology of the individual, and created to perform deeds which a community would like to perform but which are forbidden to it. Likewise, the Chorus is created to express attitudes which

reflect the moral censure and the restrictions which a community must impose upon the individual. Therefore, whatever holds true for the hero as an individual, for the Chorus as a community, and for the relationship which exists between them, holds true for the audience. The hero and the Chorus are dramatic representations of the audience.

The hero, because of his ambivalence toward his father, performs certain deeds. The Chorus expresses group ambivalence directed toward the hero because he dares to commit these deeds. The audience, as the root of these systems of attitudes, creates the hero in order to perform such deeds, and creates the Chorus in order to express communal moral censure, expose the evildoer, and drive him to his doom.

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