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Oedipus Rex | Parados | Summary

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Summary

The Chorus fearfully sings to Zeus, wondering whether the solution is going to be revealed as some awful thing that has been hidden all along or has come back to haunt the city. It describes the horrible plague and its effects, including the diseases that are further spread by all of the dead bodies lying around the city. The Chorus asks what Zeus has in store for the tormented people of Thebes, and in its fear it calls on several gods to step in to protect the people and alleviate the suffering sweeping the city.

Analysis

The Parados introduces the audience to the Chorus and its role in explaining the story. The Chorus provides the first explanation of the incredible power of the gods as well as the horror the gods can create if they are not happy with human beings. The Chorus also offers an example of what reverence for the deities looks like: certainty that it is the gods who are in control and a belief that the only way to alleviate their anger is to do exactly what they ask. The Chorus does not ask Oedipus to be its savior again. Instead, it appeals to Athena, Artemis, and Phoebus, saying, "O you three guardians against death, appear to me!" in the hope that these gods will protect the people from Zeus's anger.

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