The other news is that some stranger xenos has

Info icon This preview shows pages 43–45. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
The other news is that some stranger [xenos] has arrived in town, a sorcerer from Lydia , a conjurer of sorts, with golden scented hair tumbling down to his shoulders, a skin that glows like wine, and eyes that promise Aphrodite’s charms. He spends his nights and days with girls, I hear, enticing them with his Bacchic witchcraf . Just let me catch him hanging round these streets, and his thyrsus-tapping, hair-tossing days are over. His body will be looking for his head. •And he blames Teiresias for promoting this new god as well, saying he does so to drum up business. What happens in the Bacchae? Teiresias replies: “When a sensible man has a good cause to defend, to be eloquent is no great feat. Your tongue is so nimble one might think you had some sense, but your words contain none at all. The powerful man who matches insolence with glibness is worse than a fool. He is a public danger! . . . Young man, two are the forces most precious to mankind. The first is Demeter, the Goddess. She is the Earth—or any name you wish to call her— and she sustains humanity with solid food. Next came the son of the virgin, Dionysus, bringing the counterpart to bread, wine and the blessings of life’s flowing juices.
Image of page 43

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

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
His blood, the blood of the grape, lightens the burden of our mortal misery.” •Pentheus refuses to listen to Cadmus and Teiresias, and he calls for the stranger to be brought to him in chains. •The chorus sings an ode to Dionysus: He is life’s liberating force. He is release of limbs and communion through dance. He is laughter and music in flutes. He is repose from all cares—he is sleep! When his blood bursts from the grape and flows across tables laid in his honor to fuse our blood, he gently, gradually, wraps us in shadows of ivy-cool sleep. . . . Knowledge [actually, “Cleverness”] is not wisdom. A knowing mind that ignores its own limits who aims too high never reaps what lies within his grasp. Such is the folly— and I know of none worse— of perversely ambitious, fanatical men. Conflicts apparent in the Bacchae: •insulting mortals vs. insulted deity •human cleverness vs. divine wisdom •clever speech devoid of reason •human law and order vs. divine power •civilization vs. wilderness •social order and public morals vs. mysterious, unpredictable, uninhibited, animal-like behavior •human rationality vs. divinely inspired irrational •excess vs. moderation The Bacchae so far . . . •Pentheus, King of Thebes, has outlawed the worship of Dionysus and called for the arrest of the stranger who is promoting “this newfangled god.” •Most of the women of Thebes are cavorting on the mountainside, celebrating the rites of Dionysus. •A few of the Bacchants have been arrested and imprisoned. •Cadmus and Teiresias have announced their intention to join the women in the wilderness and celebrate the rites of Dionysus. •The stranger in town has revealed his identity to the audience but not to the characters in the play. He has made clear his intentions to exact punishment from the people of Thebes for denying his divinity.
Image of page 44
Image of page 45
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern