Category Archives: The Bacchantes

EURIPIDES: The Bacchantes

In the Bacchantes, Euripides relates the tale of Dionysus’ revenge on the people of Thebes. Dionysus is the Greek god of wine, theater, and ecstasy. The people of Thebes refuse to acknowledge this new god of the Greek pantheon. In retaliation, Dionysus drives the women of the town mad, sending them into the surrounding forests to dance and perform rites associated with the cult of Dionysus. King Pentheus abhors the women’s behavior, and wishes to put an end to their revelry. Dionysus persuades Pentheus to disguise himself as a woman so that he can spy on the mysterious rites. Pentheus’ mother Agave and the other woman discover Pentheus, who appears to them as a wild lion because Dionysus has concealed Pentheus’ true identity from them. The women tear Pentheus apart with their hands. Agave returns to Thebes with Pentheus’ head on a stake. The play ends when her wits return to her, and she realizes that she has killed her son. Continue reading EURIPIDES: The Bacchantes