Curi… Zeus's wife Hera, a jealous and vain goddess, discovered the affair while Semele was pregnant, appearing as an old crone (in other stories a nurse). The Bacchants was first performed to an audience who pride themselves on upholding the values of their society which had been founded on the morals of Apollo. Pentheus soon banned the worship of the god Dionysus, who was the son of his aunt Semele, and did not allow the women of Cadmeia to join in his rites. Here's how it went down: King Pentheus was the ruler of Thebes—in fact, he was the successor to Actaeon's grandfather, King Cadmus. He represents to have the power to level a city, not with his divine powers but by the insanity of his deranged followers. 511–733). Also those who refuse to recognise his power and divinity. Cadmus, the king of Thebes, abdicated due to his old age in favor of his grandson Pentheus. Briefly discuss the theoretical and historical context in which the play was first performed. Hera befriended Semele, who confided in her that her husband was actually Zeus. In Thebes Dionysus was opposed by Pentheus, his cousin, who was torn to pieces by the bacchantes when he attempted to spy on their activities. In the Bacchae, the person of a higher social status (Dionysus, being a god) tricks the person of a lower social status (Pentheus being a king.) She placed the head on a stick and took it back to Thebes, but only realized whose head it was after meeting her father Cadmus. Dionysus arrives as a handsome youth and is not recognized, but Pentheus arrests him, correctly sensing that he is a proponent of the new god. 5. The idealistic young King Pentheus (Agave’s son and Dionysus ‘ cousin, who has recently taken over the throne from his grandfather, Cadmus) scolds them harshly and effectively bans Dionysian worship, ordering his soldiers to arrest anyone else found engaging in the rites. Pentheus banned Dionysian worship in Thebes. He came to power after his grandfather resigns in favor of him. In a time when war was rife, such as with Sparta i think Euripides uses Dionysus experience to voice his opinions on his Greek society and the political problems that they faced. 2. He charged through the woods straight into a bacchanal. The daughters of Cadmus saw him in a tree and thought him to be a wild animal. Dionysus is much more than a fun loving god of intoxication and mysticism. Pentheus doesn’t believe the story either, dismissing Dionysus as a “fraudulent” “magician”—“whoever he is.” As Thebes succumbs to the "dementia and the delirium of the new god", Pentheus laments the fall of his kingdom and demands the arrest of Bacchus. Basically any of those who don’t follow the values and principles that Dionysus applies. Dionysus casually walked out unhurt, and invited the now curious Pentheus, to view for himself the secret rituals performed in the mountain woods. He irrationally rejects Dionysus and the new religion; his unthinking and uncompromising scorn for popular piety and the new teachings is neither rational nor open-minded. The story of Pentheus is also discussed by Ovid in his Metamorphoses (3. Dionysus (/ d aɪ. Pentheous is the headstrong mortal king of Thebes who uses strength and power and acts as a moral opposite the Dionysus who otherwise uses his ability to offer pleasure to his loyal followers. Some say that his own mother was the first to attack him, tearing his arm off and then tearing off his head. Let me explain. He became the grandfather of Oedipus. When there is high commitment in a relationship, we feel safer and are willing to give more for the relationship to succeed. Bacchus represents the acceptable traits and such that Dionysus possesses. Pentheous and Dionysus are first cousins who remain different because one is a god and the other mortal. The relationship between poetry and politics a bit is more complicated in the play – Pentheus represents the politician – rational and brave. After the opening confrontation between Pentheus and Tiresias, designed to set the scene, these four transitional verses are all action. The criticism is not that of Dionysus, but of the community that allows him to pursue and influence it. But when the guards try to shackle Acoetes, the chains fall off. Essentially, Dionysus attempts to elicit such recognition not by coercive measures, such as force, but, rather, by sparking Pentheus’ will. The daughters of Cadmus saw him in a tree and thought him to be a wild animal. After dawning women’s clothes so that he could view the rites undetected amongst the all female worshippers, Pentheus was led by Dionysus, who assumed the form of a Bull. Dionysus has returned to his hometown of Thebes to avenge the death and dishonoring of his mother, Semele, who was the lover of the king of the gods, Zeus. Pentheus is the prime example of a man inflicted with this trait. Learn how and when to remove this template message, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pentheus&oldid=985279113, Articles lacking in-text citations from April 2020, Articles having different image on Wikidata and Wikipedia, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 25 October 2020, at 01:36. Does Euripides’ tragedy provoke criticism of Dionysus? Pentheus was a king of Thebes and was a grandson of Cadmus. 4. The story of Dionysus, Pentheus, and Agave doesn't fit perfectly into the Hero's Journey structure, but we're giving it a shot. Although most people would probably say that Dionysus is the main character of his story, "The Hero's Journey" doesn't work too well from his perspective. We Will Write a Custom Essay SpecificallyFor You For Only $13.90/page! He climbed on a tree to see better, but in their madness, the women thought he … His father was Echion, the wisest of the Spartoi. Pentheus captured Dionysus, and thinking he was simply a follower of the cult, imprisoned him; however, the chains would not bind the god and the cell gate would not close. What does the Bacchae say about the nature of Dionysus, the nature of the gods in general, and the nature of the relationship between gods and humans? As punishment, Dionysus came to Thebes and hypnotized Pentheus into wearing women's clothing. Because of this, Pentheus imprisoned Dionysus, thinking the man simply a follower, but his chains fell off and the jail doors opened for him. An angered Dionysus caused Pentheus' mother Agave and his aunts Ino and Autonoë, along with all the other women of Thebes, to rush to Mount Cithaeron in a Bacchic frenzy. Dionysus’ thirst for revenge is largely based on the fact that Pentheus’ mother, Agave, and her sisters, Ino and Autonoe, don’t believe the story that Dionysus is the offspring of Semele (his mortal mother) and the supremely powerful god Zeus. Dionysus escapes his chains using his powers. Euripides, Bacchae, 373 – 375 S. L. Harris & G. Platzner, Classical Mythology fifth edition. 3. Their husbands’ resistance notwithstanding, women took to the hills, wearing fawn skins and crowns of ivy and shouting the ritual cry, “Euoi!” Among these family members is Pentheus, the king of Thebes, who has forbidden the worship of Dionysus in Thebes. Upon seizing power, he banned worship of the god Dionysus, his cousin. Dionysus is particularly incensed by the doubt and disrespect of Pentheus, Cadmus’s grandson and Dionysus’s cousin, who now rules Thebes and is to be tested. The Bacchants was first performed in 406 BC. Dionysus, wishing to punish Pentheus, lured Pentheus on mount Cithaeron where the Maenads ripped his body apart Both figures are spiteful and believe in revenge as a means to punish those who choose not … His mother was Agave, the daughter of Cadmus, the founder of Thebes, and the goddess Harmonia. Pentheous and Dionysus are first cousins who remain different because one is a god and the other mortal. Echoing Socrates, the poets, so influenced by Dionysian revelry, are to be distrusted, for Dionysus can assume the face of any person. I don’t think it does entirely. Pentheus who acts against him, Agave who follows him and the Bacchae who worship him. Pentheus didn't take kindly to the god Dionysus, who advocated wild partying and hedonism. Dionysus slowly drives Pentheus mad, lures him to the woods of Mount Cithaeron, and then convinces him to spy/peek on the Maenads (female worshippers of Dionysus, who often experienced divine ecstasy). Much of what is known about the character comes from the interpretation of the myth in Euripides' tragic play, The Bacchae. Pentheous is the headstrong mortal king of Thebes who uses strength and power and acts as a moral opposite the Dionysus who otherwise uses his ability to offer pleasure to his loyal followers. Pentheus, the King of Thebes, and Dionysus are both grandsons of old Cadmus, but while Pentheus is his chosen heir, Dionysus is not even recognized by the king, nor allowed in the city. His cult names provide insight into the nature of his relationship with humankind: the bacchants call him Bromios, "the roaring one", and also Lysios, "the god of letting go". The story of Pentheus' resistance to Dionysus and his subsequent punishment is presented by Euripides as follows. 1. Another political issue being the evolution of the role of females in greek society. They are both young and powerful and want to establish their authority over Thebes, but the kinds of authority they want to erect conflict with one another. His mother was the first one to spear him and then the group tore his flesh apart with their bare hands. Pentheus, Dionysus’ cousin and an impetuous king, is disgusted by the chaos and eroticism of Dionysus’ growing cult of women, the Maenads, as well as … In a rage, Pentheus ran to deal with Bacchus himself. As one reads this myth they will clearly identify some of the important subjects, however one detail that may not be noticed is the portrayal of Pentheus holding gender identity issues. He is so much more than a party god. The Maenads are in an insane frenzy when Pentheus sees them (earlier in the play they had ripped apart a herd of cattle), and they catch him but mistake him for a wild animal. Would you like to get a custom essay? His guards instead arrest Acoetes of Maeonia, a sailor who confirms the divinity of Bacchus and tells how the crew of his ship ended up being turned into dolphins after trying to kidnap the young god. 3. They pulled Pentheus down and tore him limb from limb (as part of a ritual known as the sparagmos). Dionysis tried to show that the wonders of this new worship of a new and great god was divine but when Pentheus only heaped insults and threats upon him, Dionysus left him to his doom. In what ways are Pentheus and Dionysus different? In what ways are they similar? In Greek mythology, Pentheus (/ˈpɛnθjuːs/; Greek: Πενθεύς) was a king of Thebes. Dionysus predates Bacchus and many other greek gods by hundreds if not nearly a thousand years. Additionally, years of reading, rereading, writing about and discussing with others Ovid's beleaguered main character have allowed me to form a relationship with the mythical Pentheus, and so in this volume and in the two to come, I invite my readers to empathize with him, to understand his anger, and to allow him the space to be upset at the arrival of Bacchus at Thebes. Leadership Style and Team Performance with Task Characteristics as Moderators. The prologue establishes the play’s crushing central irony: The audience knows what the Thebans do not—the god’s true identity and intention at the outset. Before or possibly after Pentheus was killed, his wife gave birth to a son named Menoeceus, who became the father of Creon and Jocasta. Pentheus was succeeded by his uncle Polydorus. Hera pretended not to believe her and planted seeds of doubt in Semele's mind. Both figures are spiteful and believe in revenge as a means to punish those who choose not to follow. Dionysus lured Pentheus, disguised as a woman, out to spy on the Bacchic rites, where Pentheus expected to see sexual activities. ə ˈ n aɪ s ə s /; Greek: Διόνυσος) is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, of fertility, orchards and fruit, vegetation, insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, festivity and theatre in ancient Greek religion and myth.. His mother and Dionysus were sisters. When his true identity was later discovered, officials exiled the women from Thebes. While attempting to make a name for himself, Dionysus also strives to punish those who deny him and make a laughing stock of his and his mother’s name. Driven to a frenzy the participants thought Pentheus was a boar and attacked him. Dionysus then lured Pentheus out to spy on the bacchic rites. Why does Pentheus see Dionysus as a threat to civilisation? Pentheus sees Dionysus the god of deviant instinctive passion as a threat to the mainstream, ordered old fashioned society that Pentheus resides over. The story of Pentheus' resistance to Dionysus and his subsequent punishment is presented by Euripides as follows. Dionysus decided that the transformation would not be lifted until they acknowledged his divinity. He inspires the kind of devotion in his followers, the Bacchae, that Pentheus can only dream of as king. Dionysus warns and rattles Pentheus, imbuing him with fear to catalyze acknowledgement of Dionysus’ divinity. Pentheus, convinced that Acoetes is lying, tries to throw him in jail. In Ovid's Metamorphoses, King Pentheus is warned by the blind seer Tiresias to welcome Bacchus or else "Your blood [will be] poured out and defile the woods and your mother and her sisters..." Pentheus dismisses Tiresias and ignores his warnings. Dionysus is a god of ritualistic madness. Dionysus's gifts allow humans to let go of their troubles through wine, to let go of their identities through theater, and to let go of their individuality through cult worship. Dionysus managed to convince Pentheus to dress as a woman and go to Cithaeron, in order to see the frenzied women engage in sexual activities. Dionysus, the protagonist of the play, is the Greek god of wine, fertility, ritual madness, and theater. (Hamilton . In what ways might Euripides be using the myth in this context to reflect upon his view of Athenian and or Greek society? He is impatient, bullying, and at times brutal. How about receiving a customized one? However, Dionysus is not to be trusted. It is more a criticism of the cult and Euripides demonstrates this with characters that interact with Dionysus. The name "Pentheus", as Dionysus and Tiresias both point out, means "Man of Sorrows" and derives from πένθος, pénthos, sorrow or grief, especially the grief caused by the death of a loved one. To whom is Dionysus dangerous? Athenians were punished with impotence for dishonouring the god’s cult. The relationship between Dionysus and Pentheus, when compared to some other Greek Tragedies is in itself ironic. His name appeared to mark him for tragedy. His sister was Epeiros. As the gross old saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. Dionysus had an unusual birth that evokes the difficulty in fitting him into the Olympian pantheon, as his mother was Semele (Daughter of Cadmus), a mortal woman, and his father Zeus, the king of the gods. Pentheus now hears that a band of women has gone to the mountain to practice the god’s rites; one is Pentheus’s mother, Agave. The syntax is paratactic throughout, with barely a whiff of subordination: sequitur, aguntur, adest, fremunt, ruit, feruntur — all are (indicative) verbs of main clauses; the whiff is the participle mixtae . Pentheus seemingly believed in the words of his mother and aunts before their transformation in Maenads, and believed that his cousin, Dionysus, was a mortal man, and a mortal man who was having a corrupting influence on all the women of Thebes. This myth explores the battle between Dionysus, who has just returned dressed as a stranger, and Pentheus, who is the current ruler of the state, over the city of Thebes. Pentheus sees Dionysus the god of deviant instinctive passion as a threat to the mainstream, ordered old fashioned society that Pentheus resides over. Its main value is the attention called to a reference by Servius auctus (ad Aen. Because of this, Pentheus imprisoned Dionysus , thinking the man simply a follower, but … At the start, Pentheus is obsessed with instilling social order and containing his sexual desires, all the while completely oblivious to his true character. In particular, Dionysus is out to get his own family because they have turned on him. The conflict between Pentheus and Dionysus seems to embody and dramatize such conflicts as reason / madness, civic order / release from restraint, and human authority/ divine authority. The Representations of Dionysian World In Bacchae and Art Dionysus was the son of Zeus, the king of the gods, and Semele, the daughter of King Cadmus of Thebes, and he was the last god that became an Olympian. Ovid's version diverges from Euripides' work in several areas. An angered Dionysus caused Pentheus' mother Agave and his aunts Ino and Autonoë, along with all the other women of Thebes, to rush to Mount Cithaeron in a Bacchic frenzy. There is an abundance of binding imagery in The Bacchae, especially significant in Pentheus’ sexual repression and his relationship with Dionysus. But the fun doesn't stop there. Dionysus had an unusual birth which caused him to … iv 469) to the Pentheus of Pacuvius, in which Acoetes was the name of the follower of Dionysus who was brought as a prisoner to Pentheus. 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