The Bacchae

1026 words, 5 pages

Intro Sample...


To live without want for anything, in a state where everything necessary to live is
provided for and one has only to enjoy themselves to the fullest, is the ideal dream. In
Eurypides’ play “The Bacchae” such a perfect lifestyle is not only rejected, but even
despised and feared. In the city of Thebes, the women are all driven into that lifestyle by
Dionysus, the god of wine and madness, out of anger towards the ruler of the city and
his family. That ruler’s name is Pentheus, who, like his family, spread lies and denies
that Dionysus is a true god born from Zeus. The self righteousness of Pentheus not only
allows him to be ignorant of Dionysus’ power, but also prompts Dionysus to
demonstrate the severity of dismissing a... View More »

Body Sample...



This same ignorance recurs in Pentheus’ decision to have the gates “guarded,
bolted, and barred” (653) as soon as he finds Dionysus escaped from his captivity. Not
only has Pentheus been utterly humiliated with the destruction of his palace from
supernatural causes, but he himself was guarding Dionysus when he escaped. Yet for
some reason, he still thinks that Dionysus is a false god and is beneath him, which
prompts his choice of secondary imprisonment conditions for Dionysus. Pushing aside
the stupidity in trying to contain someone who can destroy a palace by himself,
Pentheus still refuses to recognize the heavenly power he had seen demonstrated
before his very eyes.
The destruction of the palace itself wasn’t even really divine punishment;
Dionysus could have easily killed Pentheus in the process, but chose to let him live so
that Pentheus could finally admit that Dionysus is a real god. Dionysus also
demonstrates his forgiving side when he originally surrendered to the guard sent to
capture him, the same guard that described him as “a gentle animal” (436). To be taken
captive by a mortal is humiliating for a god, yet he complies with Pentheus’ wishes in
order to meet with him and give him a chance to recognize his status as a god. He even
warns Pentheus of his “ignorance and impiety towards the gods” (490), but the warnings
are again disregarded.
Eventually, Pentheus’ repeated failure to give Dionysus the respect that a god
expects results in a brutal death at his mother’s hands. The servant recounted that
Pentheus’ body ...

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bacchae death of pentheus dionysos summons the bacchae

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