Motifs in the Bacchae

  • Created by: gsoning
  • Created on: 19-05-19 11:56
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  • Motifs
    • Hunting
      • Agave refers to her kill (pentheus) as  a 'hunt'
      • The first messenger speech refers to hunting Bacchants on Cithaeron
        • [messenger]'Do you think we should hunt Agave, Pentheus' mother, out of the Bacchic dances, to please our lord?'
      • Pentheus is killed in hunting style by Agave
    • Vision
      • Pentheus has double vision when walking up to Cithaeron (fourth episode)
        • Pentheus: 'I see two suns, and a double city of Thebes, two cities with seven gates!'
      • Agave's vision clears after Cadmus brings her back to reality, he is a voice of reason hence his lesser punishment
        • Cadmus: 'Now look properly; it is only a moment's effort'
    • Bull
      • Dionysus created an illusion of a bull to humiliate Pentheus.
        • Dionysus-'That is exactly how I humiliated him [...] he found a bull in the stables [...] and he tied knots around its knees, panting with rage'
      • Pentheus:' you look like a bull leading me'
    • Lessons learned and morals presented
      • Tiresias, Cadmus and choral epilogue all solidly the message of worship and to expect the unexpected of the Gods.
        • Tiresias: 'I cannot begin to tell you how great he will be in Greece'
        • Cadmus: 'Even if this person is no god, as you say, declare him one! Tell a lie in a good cause.'
        • Cadmus: 'If anyone despises divinity, let him look on this man's death, and believe in the gods!'
    • Acteon
      • Tiresias: 'You know the fate of Acteon' (hubris)
        • Tiresias: 'Where once the hounds tore Acteon apart'
    • Sophistry and Wisdom
      • Tiresias:'No logic will overthrow the traditions we have received from our fathers'
      • Tiresias objecting sophistry (1st episode)
        • 'A fine orator whose ability is based on confidence is a bad citizen, since he lacks goof judgement.'
    • Snakes
      • Cadmus and Agave are turned into snakes by Dionysus in the Exodos
        • Dionysus re Cadmus and Harmony: 'You will be turned into a serpent and your wife will take on the savage form of a snake'
      • Bacchants connection with snakes
        • 'The snake's tongues cleaned the drops from their cheeks'
    • Lion
      • Pentheus is the 'child of a Lioness'


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