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As we begin the play, Euripides tells us that Dionysus is angry.

He, His divinity is not being fully recognized and that makes him upset. The Olympians don't like it if we don't fully recognize their divinity. That leads him to get started, in this group at Thebes making sure that his own purview, his own world is going to receive admiration reverence from human beings. Dionysus compels the women to celebrate his rights, rights on Mount Cithaeron and that begins, Pentheus is hostile to this. He doesn't like that this is happening, despite the fact that Cadmus and Tyresius are both telling him it's okay. You should let this happen, it's a good thing. Pentheus resists, and that resistance is going to prove his undoing. Euripides pushes the limits of tragedy by having Dionysus actually appear as a character on stage. It's not the very first time in all of tragedy this has happened. We saw this with Aeschylus, in fact, with Athena and Apollo. but Dionysus has a, a really earthy kind of role here. He doesn't just sort of show up just embodied. He's a physical character in the play who's achieving physical ends through manipulation and through, kind of, kind of mind control when it comes to Pentheus. Dionysus causes Pantheus is to bind a bull instead of him, Right? Pantheus was up to, wants to try to bind Bacchus to, to prevent him from getting involved out on, the hillside. But, Dionysus instead binds a bull and at that point his disillusion kind of starts. there's an earthquake, lightning comes his whole palace falls down this is just in the middle of the play, right? Where its working up. and the, the, we hear great conflagration as things collapse. Pentheus is now very much disturbed, he's really unsure what's happening. A messenger comes in and talks about all these women going bazerk out on the hillside. And then, Dionysus starts his kind of mind control, gets inside of Pentheus's head, convinces him it will be a good idea to change his own gender to go from being a male to becoming at least his outward

appearance a female and go blend in with those women out on the hillside. He then sets him up in a tree and has him spy on the rights that he sees. When he does, he is goes from being the spier to being the spiee, he gets seen. And when he does, his mother spots him as potential quarry for a Dionysian backoned revelry. They then grab him, rip his head off as though they have the head of a lion, and tear him up as a living sacrifice in the way Dionysus likes. Argovae then bears the head to theives in triumphs. She thinks she's got a lion. Hooray for her. Cadmus's family then is banished from Thebes by Dionysus. Awful things because of the resistance of Pentheus come to be visited on this tribe at Thebes. Despite the involvement of, again, Cadmus and Pentheus or Cadmus and Tiresias, trying to tell Pentheus that this is going to be the right thing to do. Multiple themes here excuse me, Multiple themes important in the play. I'll just touch on a couple of them. First of all, there is a, Greek, adage that is so famous, it's inscribed above the temple at Delphi, that says, nothing too much. Don't do anything to too strong of a degree. Pantheus's resistance to Dionysus's worship is characterized here as something too much. Dionysus is resisting too strongly. He sets himself up on a pedestal as though his judgment is better than everyone else around him, even including people like Cadmus and [inaudible]. Tiresias. Dionysus then takes this person, Pantheus, who's putting himself up on a pedestal, And kind of does that for him by putting him up on the branches of a tree in front of his own revelers. Now, when those revelers, the Bacchans, get an eye of this quarry up in a tree, they grab and pull him down and rip him apart. His haughtiness then, is redefined as and refigured as him being up in a tree and now also becoming vulnerable. Standing out above everybody is going to make him vulnerable. Another theme that's already kind of built in to this treatment of a theme of nothing too much is the inversion of hunter and

hunted. This comes up in Cadmus's family regularly. It's true across the family. Actaeon is torn apart by his hunting dogs. Remember, we talked about, when we're talking about the lineage of that exists in, among Cadmus's daughters. Ino was hunted down by her crazed husband like she's a quarry. Semele is emulated like an animal sacrifice, and then especially here, Pentheus is hunted down by his own mother and ripped apart as though he is a quarry, as though he is a beast. The hunter and hunted slippage that gets worked into this play is likely to be a deep working out of probably just a suggestion. But, I might suggest, a kind of anxiety that any hunting people would imagine. Bringing down a large mammal is not always a happy thing. And you've got to imagine that humans wonder when they do such a thing, is this the right kind of thing to do? The story of Dionysius here I think is introducing us to the story of, and Cadmus's family is introducing us to the ongoing sense that when humans hunt, they are doing something that could conceivably be offensive. could be some kind of awful thing. We realized that when we go from being hunter to hunted we see the awfulness of the situation that we ourselves are engaged in. Pentheus is physically dismembered, that's important for us to see. This disillusion of self such as we see, saw it in Oedipus's play are, is here brought to very graphic realization. The disillusion of his dismembered self in, in the face of the utter strength of the god, Dionysus.

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