Purchase Plays by Euripides THE Bacchae, which was not exhibited till after the death of Euripides, must have been the work of his latest years; and certain local allusions favour the supposition that it was written in Macedonia at the court of Archelaus. No play seems to have been more popular in the theatre, or to have been more frequently quoted and imitated. Without doubt it is one of the greatest of Greek tragedies, and its production in extreme old age is a marvellous testimony to the vigour and vitality of the poet.
The extraordinary beauty and passion of the poetic choral descriptions indicate that the author certainly knew what attracted those who followed Dionysus.
And the vivid gruesomeness of the punishment of Pentheus suggests that he could also understand those who were troubled by the religion. His mortal mother, Semelewas a mistress of Zeus who while pregnant, was killed by Hera, who was jealous of her husband's affair.
When Semele died, her sisters said it was Zeus' will and accused her of lying; they also accused their father, Cadmus, of using Zeus as a coverup. Most of Semele's family refuse to believe Dionysus is the son of Zeus, and the young god is spurned in his home.
He has traveled throughout Asia and other foreign lands, gathering a cult of female worshipers Maenads or Bacchantes. At the play's start he has returned, disguised as a stranger, to take revenge on the house of Cadmus.
He has also driven the women of Thebes, including his aunts, into an ecstatic frenzy, sending them dancing and hunting on Mount Cithaeronmuch to the horror of their families. Complicating matters, his cousin, the young king Pentheushas declared a ban on the worship of Dionysus throughout Thebes.
Dionysus explains he is the son of a mortal woman, Semele, and a god, Zeus. Dionysus reveals that he has driven the women of the city mad, including his three aunts, and has led them into the mountains to observe his ritual festivities. He has disguised himself as a mortal for the time being, but he plans to vindicate his mother by appearing before all of Thebes as a god, the son of Zeus, and establishing his permanent cult of followers.
They perform a choral ode in praise of Dionysus. Then Tiresias, the blind and elderly seer, appears. He calls for Cadmus, the founder and former king of Thebes.
Disgusted to find the two old men in festival dress, he scolds them and orders his soldiers to arrest anyone engaging in Dionysian worship, including the mysterious "foreigner" who has introduced this worship.
Pentheus intends to have him stoned to death. Pentheus questions him, both skeptical of and fascinated by the Dionysian rites. Dionysus's answers are cryptic. Infuriated, Pentheus has Dionysus taken away and chained to an angry bull in the palace stable.
But the god now shows his power. He breaks free and razes the palace with an earthquake and fire. Dionysus and Pentheus are once again at odds when a herdsman arrives from the top of Mount Cithaeron, where he had been herding his grazing cattle.
He reports that he found women on the mountain behaving strangely: The herdsmen and the shepherds made a plan to capture one particular celebrant, Pentheus' mother.
But when they jumped out of hiding to grab her, the Bacchae became frenzied and pursued the men.
The men escaped, but their cattle were not so fortunate, as the women fell upon the animals, ripping them to shreds with their bare hands. The women carried on, plundering two villages that were further down the mountain, stealing bronze, iron and even babies.
|From the SparkNotes Blog||His human mother, Semelebecame pregnant by Zeus, king of the gods.|
|What are You Studying?||Table of Contents Plot Overview Dionysus, the god of wine, prophecy, religious ecstasy, and fertility, returns to his birthplace in Thebes in order to clear his mother's name and to punish the insolent city state for refusing to allow people to worship him.|
|Be Book-Smarter.||The extraordinary beauty and passion of the poetic choral descriptions indicate that the author certainly knew what attracted those who followed Dionysus. And the vivid gruesomeness of the punishment of Pentheus suggests that he could also understand those who were troubled by the religion.|
|The Bacchae - Euripides - Ancient Greece - Classical Literature||Instinct versus Reason The central conflict sets order, rationality and restraint against instinct and ecstasy, the nonrational side of human experience, the desire to merge with the divine in some form or another. One way of understanding the play is to see it as a psychological drama acted out between these two aspects of the human mind.|
|Plot Overview||His human mother, Semelebecame pregnant by Zeus, king of the gods. At the moment of her death, however, Zeus saved the unborn Dionysushiding it from Hera by sewing the foetus up in his own thigh until it was ready to be born.|
When villagers attempted to fight back, the women drove them off using only their ceremonial staffs of fennel. They then returned to the mountain top and washed up, as snakes licked them clean. He says it would be better first to spy on them, while disguised as a female Maenad to avoid detection.
At this point, Pentheus seems already crazed by the god's power, as he thinks he sees two suns in the sky, and believes he now has the strength to rip up mountains with his bare hands. He has also begun to see through Dionysus' mortal disguise, perceiving horns coming out of the god's head.
They exit to Cithaeron. A messenger arrives to report that once the party reached Mount Cithaeron, Pentheus wanted to climb an evergreen tree to get a better view and the stranger used divine power to bend down the tall tree and place the king in its highest branches.
Then Dionysus, revealing himself, called out to his followers and pointed out the man in the tree. This drove the Maenads wild.
Led by Agave, his mother, they forced the trapped Pentheus down from the tree top, ripped off his limbs and his head, and tore his body into pieces. After the messenger has relayed this news, Agave arrives, carrying her son's bloodied head.The Bacchae was presented posthumously along with Iphigenia in Aulis and the lost Alcmaeon in Corinth in BCE.
The three plays were brought back to Athens by Euripides' son, Euripides the Younger. They were probably written around BCE, just before Euripides' death. These three plays won. The Bacchae study guide contains a biography of Euripides, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary .
The Bacchae - A summary and analysis of the play by Euripides. The Age of Euripides - A look at the political and religious atmosphere in which Euripides composed his plays. Dialogue of Euripides - An analysis of the dialogue and musical composition of Euripides.
Analysis and discussion of characters in Euripides' The Bacchae. Dionysus. Dionysus (di-eh-NI-suhs), also called Bromius, Evius, and Bacchus (BA-kuhs).He is a god of the general fertility of. “The Bacchae”, also known as “The Bacchantes” (Gr: “Bakchai”), is a late tragedy by the ancient Greek playwright Euripides, and it is considered one of his best works and .
The Bacchae was presented posthumously along with Iphigenia in Aulis and the lost Alcmaeon in Corinth in BCE. The three plays were brought back to Athens by Euripides' son, Euripides the Younger.
They were probably written around BCE, just before Euripides' death. These three plays won.