(ca. 407/5 B.C.)

  1. Who are the various groups who do worship Dionysos?

  2. What is the method and content of the ritual of worship?

  3. What is the initial attitude of King Pentheus to the worshippers of Dionysos?

  4. Does Pentheus have a 'tragic flaw' in his character? If so, what is it?

  5. What are the various qualities of character which are attributed to King Pentheus:
    (a) as a king? (b) as a man?

  6. What are the various qualities of character of the God Dionysos?

  7. What is the nature of the growing influence of Dionysos over Pentheus, and the play proceeds?

  8. 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?

  9. What role does King Kadmos (CADMUS) play in the drama?

  10. Is there perhaps a second tragedy in the drama, that of AGAVE, Pentheus' mother?

  11. What does The Bacchae reveal about the relationship in the Greek world between religion and the state?

  12. What is especially distressing about the particular form of religion which Dionysos and his followers are promoting?


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.

To the Outline of the play.

January 28, 2010 12:09 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

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