Dionysus's Duality In Euripides The Bacchae

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The Bacchae In his play The Bacchae Euripides explores the duality of society, the roles of males and females in life, and the role of the Gods. His tragedy details the downfall of an arrogant ruler and his family as they each interact the god Dionysus. Pentheus, the king of Thebes, does not believe Dionysus is a god. His ultimate sin was denying that he was a god, and not making the proper sacrifices. By trying to maintain rigid order Pentheus scorned Dionysus, and set the stage for his own demise. He was not punished for trying to maintain order, but rather for trying to suppress his peoples expression of love for their new god. Regardless of his desire to keep control, Pentheus succumbed to his curiosity, and spied on the bacchae. When Dionysus was brought to him, he would not reveal the rituals to the king, making Pentheus even more curious. Once he was told by the herder how the women were acting in Cithaeron; dancing, nursing wolves, and bringing milk up from the ground, he wanted to see for himself. He finally gave in to his urges and let Dionysus trick him into dressing like a woman, and was lead to his death. Much like the phrase “Curiosity killed the cat” Pentheus brought about his own murder, by…show more content…
First, Dionysus is described in the beginning as effeminate; he has long flowing blonde hair, and a graceful gait. Pentheus is offended by his femininity, but is eventually persuaded to dress as a woman, nearly embracing his own feminine side. Euripides juxtaposes his femininity with the bacchae acting masculine. They hunt and kill, they tear cows limb from limb, and attack a village. They have left their homes to follow Dionysus, and live freely in the woods. When Pentheus returns home in the beginning of the play, he is appalled with the perversion of his kingdom, and threatens to lock up all the Bacchae, even his own mother and
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