Ch11Underworld

Ch11Underworld - Classics 10: Chapter 11: Spring 2011 Myths...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–8. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Classics 10: Chapter 11: Spring 2011 Myths of Death: Encounters with the Underworld [Dionysus and Tragedy: Euripides’ Bacchae ] I. The Greek View of Death II. Odysseus Visits Death’s Realm III. Orpheus and Eurydicê IV. Plato and Virgil: Teaching from Hell
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Resistance to Dionysus • Why so much resistance to his cult? – Gruesome deaths to all who resist – Wine is pleasure, but very easily a madness – Is madness punishment? Or freedom? • Greek aversion to violence and irrationality – Greeks value rationality, self-control (sophrosyne) – Dionysus a symbol of passion and spontaneity – Antithesis of what is normative and right? – Yet even the Greeks had to face human unreason, the exuberant, emotional human irrational • Dionysus = the unbounded aspect of the human
Background image of page 2
Euripides’ Bacchae • Plot of the play is Dionysus’ return to Thebes, where he was born, to introduce his cult there • His mother’s sisters, Autonoë and Agavê, have been saying that Semelê was lying about having Zeus as a lover and so he smote her • To avenge this slight against his mother, he casts a spell of madness over his aunts and all the women of Thebes • When the play opens, the women are already raving mad out on the mountains outside the city
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Euripides’ Bacchae • The King of Thebes, Pentheus, opposes the cult and thinks the women are all sex crazy • He vows to capture and imprison all of them, esp. their apparently effeminate leader • Dionysus allows himself to be captured and is brought before Pentheus, who taunts him • Dionysus is led away; the palace is destroyed by an earthquake and Dionysus comes back
Background image of page 4
Euripides’ Bacchae • A report comes in about miracles and wonders being performed in the mountains by the Bacchae – Streams of milk and honey gushing from rocks struck by a thyrsus – A cow is ripped to pieces by the women’s bare hands – They run off the peasants trying to save their animals and farms: women are stronger than men! – In Euripides’ play, the women are NOT having any sex, though historically sex was likely involved
Background image of page 5

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Euripides’ Bacchae • Pentheus is about to go out with a force to capture the women, but Dionysus ensnares him with his own desire (lines 810-816) • “Would you like to go watch?” “Yes.” • “Would you really enjoy a thing that so disgusts you?” “Yes, if I hid, unnoticed, under a tree.” • Pentheus wants to watch voyeuristically that which he condemns as base • Pentheus’ own dark desire reveals his inner psychology, and thus the hypocrisy of his earlier position is revealed
Background image of page 6
Euripides’ Bacchae • Euripides seems to have focused his telling of the story to emphasize this point in Pentheus’ pyschology • Remember that a written version of a myth is subject to its author’s designs • Thus even though Euripides is a major source for Dionysus in Greece, his play ultimately tells us more about Euripides’ aims than about the importance of the myth for the average Greek • Yet the average Athenian seems to have greatly enjoyed this play (it won first prize)
Background image of page 7

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 8
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Page1 / 30

Ch11Underworld - Classics 10: Chapter 11: Spring 2011 Myths...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 8. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online