The Nostalgia of the Male Tragic Chorus
For the ancient Athenians, tragedy was a species of choral poetry, a spectacular new development within a long tradition of group performances combining song and dance. Modern discussions and receptions of tragedy have generally focused on what was added as tragedy left its purely choral roots behind: individual speaking actors impersonating the main characters of a myth. But recently critics have paid more attention to tragedy's ongoing choral element, investigating not only the particular choruses of individual plays, but also the tragic chorus's connections to non-dramatic lyric and to the ritual contexts in which most choral song was performed. We are gaining a clearer understanding of what the chorus became when it appeared in tandem with the clamorous individuals who dominate tragic plots.