In my literary element project, “Peanut Gallery”, I chose to focus on the literary element of the chorus. Found within most Greek plays, the chorus represents the typical audience members or the voice of greater society. In the case of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, the chorus asserted conventional wisdom that through asking the characters of the play “typical audience member” questions, the complex character, Oedipus, underwent the stages of recognition and reversal. I chose to symbolize the chorus as a “peanut gallery” as seen by present day people who visit the theatre. The peanut gallery is the top section of people who seem to always have a voice and are sometimes even found annoying. The purpose of the chorus is to entertain the audience, further progress the plot, and explain the characters and the plot.
In the play, the chorus additionally represented Oedipus’s nagging inner voice that resulted in his own heroic undoing and his inner conflict. The dramatic irony of the chorus increases the tension of the play which not only evokes pity and fear for Oedipus in the audience, but also to explain the measure of free will, supporting the theme of Fate versus Free Will. The chorus was an important element to Oedipus’s development as a complex and round character. Furthermore, I symbolized Oedipus as the king “peanut”, with a broken crown to suggest the idea of a lost king, who is not independent and reliant on the voices of his society. I have chosen to make the chorus quotes surround Oedipus to demonstrate the claustrophobic tension that Fate has on Oedipus as the protagonist tries to escape the prophecy.