EURIPIDES, THE BACCHAE
(ca. 407/5 B.C.)
- Who are the various groups who do worship Dionysos?
- What is the method and content of the ritual of worship?
- What is the initial attitude of King Pentheus to the worshippers of Dionysos?
- Does Pentheus have a 'tragic flaw' in his character? If so, what is it?
- What are the various qualities of character which are attributed to King Pentheus:
(a) as a king? (b) as a man?
- What are the various qualities of character of the God Dionysos?
- What is the nature of the growing influence of Dionysos over Pentheus, and the play proceeds?
- What is the role of the CHORUS OF BACCHANTES (Maenads) in commenting on and clarifying the action of the play? Are they sympathetic to Pentheus?
- What role does King Kadmos (CADMUS) play in the drama?
- Is there perhaps a second tragedy in the drama, that of AGAVE, Pentheus' mother?
- What does The Bacchae reveal about the relationship in the Greek world between religion and
- What is especially distressing about the particular form of religion which Dionysos and his
followers are promoting?
SOME THEMATIC MOTIFS:
- Dominance vs. submission
- masculine vs. feminine (transvestism motif)
- piety vs. self-sufficiency
- ecstasy vs. rationalism
- wild nature vs. city life
- individual expression vs. polis values
- freedom vs. sexual control
Consult: Erich Segal (editor), Euripides: A Collection of Critical Essays
((Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall 1968); essays by William Arrowsmith, G.M.A. Grube, and Thomas G. Rosenmeyer.
January 28, 2010 12:09 PM
John Paul Adams, CSUN