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The Ode
[Page 2]

The Pindaric Ode

Named for the ancient Greek lyric poet Pindar, the Pindaric ode retains some traces of the Ode's roots as a part of ancient Greek drama. In the Greek context, a chorus performed an ode by moving first on one direction to sing the strophe, which involved varying metrical patterns and dance steps, then in another direction to sing the antistrophe, which reversed the steps, and one or more epodes, in which the chorus stood still.

The Pindaric ode translates the strophe and antistrophe into its verse form. In a Pindaric ode, the strophes and antistrophes share the same verse form, but the opposing movements of the Greek chorus become two positions that the narrator explores, with the epode or epodes using a different verse form and often finding some kind of resolution of the strophe and antistrophe. You can look for these characteristics in one an eighteenth-century example, Thomas Gray's "The Progress of Poesy."

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