Agamemnon 317 the Chorus speaking

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donhamiltontx
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Agamemnon 317 the Chorus speaking

Post by donhamiltontx » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:42 pm

Reading the Agamemnon (if glancing from the text to Sidgwick's commentary to Page's commentary to a translation and back to the text can honestly be called reading), I have a question about the chorus. At line 317*, the Chorus says:

θεοῖς μὲν αὖθις, ὦ γύναι, προσεύξομαι.

Does the fact that the verb is in the singular mean that only one member of the Chorus, presumably the Leader, is speaking? Or is this a reliable indicator of how many of the Chorus speak?

* Text from Perseus: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... card%3D281 accessed Nov. 6, 2018.
ἐς Τροίαν πειρώμενοι ἦνθον ᾿Αχαιοί,
καλλίστα παίδων: πείρᾳ θην πάντα τελεῖται.
Theocritus, Idyll 15

anphph
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Re: Agamemnon 317 the Chorus speaking

Post by anphph » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:46 pm

donhamiltontx wrote:Reading the Agamemnon (if glancing from the text to Sidgwick's commentary to Page's commentary to a translation and back to the text can honestly be called reading), I have a question about the chorus. At line 317*, the Chorus says:

θεοῖς μὲν αὖθις, ὦ γύναι, προσεύξομαι.

Does the fact that the verb is in the singular mean that only one member of the Chorus, presumably the Leader, is speaking? Or is this a reliable indicator of how many of the Chorus speak?

* Text from Perseus: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... card%3D281 accessed Nov. 6, 2018.
The issue of who speaks in Greek choruses is not exactly straightforward. Singular or plural forms can occasionally be used for both singular and the plural subjects, and there are fringe cases where maybe we aren't sure. There could have also been staging decisions. The general rule is that the chorus sings (and thus speaks) as a whole in the songs and in the parodos (the entry song of the chorus), whereas the Choryphaeus will be the main interlocutor in spoken passages.

Line 317 is doubtless such a line, it's spoken by the choryphaeus.

At other times the chorus may break up in parts (you will see this in the Agamemnon still), where presumably there would be individual elements of the chorus speaking individually, or else divided groups each speaking different parts.

donhamiltontx
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Re: Agamemnon 317 the Chorus speaking

Post by donhamiltontx » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:55 pm

Thank you, anphph, for helping me understand this matter better.
ἐς Τροίαν πειρώμενοι ἦνθον ᾿Αχαιοί,
καλλίστα παίδων: πείρᾳ θην πάντα τελεῖται.
Theocritus, Idyll 15

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