This essay depends upon certain assumptions, which had better be made explicit at the outset.
The first is that in Attic tragedy the choral odes were always intended to have an organic relation to the drama as a whole. They are not mere intermezzi inserted to relieve tension and allow the audience to relax between successive steps in the real business of the drama, but serve rather as lyrical commentaries on what is happening on the stage, inviting us to the emotional response appropriate at that point in the action, and to reflect upon certain ideas and concepts implicit in the events themselves. They form a bridge between successive acts, and their contextual relevance looks back to what has immediately preceded and forward to what is about to come. At this level we need not expect complete consistency between different odes. The Chorus's interpretation of the situation and the emotional reaction it expresses may change quite drastically in the light of a change in situation or the revelation of hitherto unknown facts.