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The Bacchae First Episode Summary
Tiresias, the old blind seer, enters. He's dressed in goat skins and ivy, which are the basic uniform for Dionysus's rituals. He bangs on the palace doors, calling for Cadmus to come join him in the mountains. Cadmus, Dionysus's human grandfather, enters and greets Tiresias warmly. They talk of how they're both really old, but not too old to boogie in the name of Dionysus. Pentheus, King of Thebes, enters. The King is super mad. He's come back from abroad, because he's heard that the women of Thebes are out partying in the name of Dionysus. Pentheus has heard that big old orgies are going down in the woods. He says he's arrested some of revelers and will soon catch the rest. He's even going to arrest his own mother Agave. The King blames all the trouble on the mysterious Stranger with golden hair who has charmed all the ladies. (Pentheus doesn't realize that this person is Dionysus in human form.) Pentheus says he's going to find the Stranger and cut off his head. He thinks the whole story of Dionysus' birth is a lie. The King notices Tiresias and Cadmus all decked out for the rituals. He criticizes them both, saying their old and foolish. The Chorus leader interjects and tells Pentheus that he should be more respectful. Tiresias chimes in as well. He tells Pentheus that Dionysus is indeed a great new god. He's brought the magic of wine to Greece, now the people have something to help ease their sorrows. Tiresias says that Dionysus will soon be one of the most powerful gods in Greece, and that Pentheus better recognize him. Cadmus warns the King, his grandson, not to trifle with Dionysus. For one, says Cadmus, it's nice to have a god in the family. He also reminds his grandson of Aceton, a man who got ripped apart by wild dogs for saying he was a better hunter than the goddess, Artemis. Pentheus is less than convinced. He orders that somebody go and trash Tiresias's house to teach him a lesson. The King also demands that someone capture this mysterious blonde Stranger, so that he can be stoned to death. Tiresias tells Pentheus that he's a fool and hobbles away with Cadmus to beg mercy of Dionysus.
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