35 pages 1 hour read



Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 409

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Symbols & Motifs

Chorus of Argive Women

By Euripides’s time, the Chorus featured 15 actors who sang and danced their lines. Any dialogue attributed to the Chorus is believed to have been spoken by the Chorus leader. The Chorus’s function in tragedies can be difficult to appreciate for modern audiences. Their presence creates a dynamic between what is sung (which is associated in Hesiod, an ancient Greek poet, with eternal truths) and what is spoken, but they do not necessarily represent the correct way to interpret events. Rather, they may represent the perspective of the mob or collective.

In Orestes, the Chorus may symbolize the Athenian citizenry who are swayed by persuasive rhetoric to support the city’s empire building and war effort despite the disastrous outcome. Though well-intentioned and sympathetic, the Chorus allows itself to be pulled into Orestes and Electra’s brutal schemes to murder Helen and take Hermione as a hostage. They consider whether they should call for help, suggesting that they recognize that the plan is wrong, but ultimately, they allow themselves to be convinced to support a potentially ruinous plot.