The Bacchae Foreignness and 'the Other' Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Agave: "Bacchants from Asia, look!" (228)
This is the only time in the play that one of the Maenads, the Theban women whom Dionysus incites to worship him, meets Chorus, the god's Asian followers. It's interesting how Euripides places these two groups of women in contrast with each other. The Chorus worships Dionysus of their own volition, while the Greek women were forced into it. What does this say about the spreading of this foreign religion in Greece?
Dionysus: "I shall not curb the flail under which these culprits have to smart They shall be exiled from the city […] Not one of them shall ever see their fatherland again." (310)
Exile was a fate worse than death for most ancient Greeks. For many, their entire sense of self was based around whichever city they lived in. Perhaps, their suspicion of foreigners was heightened by their fierce loyalty to their own homeland.
Dionysus: "You [Cadmus] shall drive a chariot drawn by bullocks […] leading a barbarian tribe." (310)
Part of Cadmus's punishment is that he must lead an army of foreigners in a series of battles. Notice the use of the word barbarian here. To the ancient Greeks, most every foreigner was barbaric. It's extra humiliating for Cadmus to lead a group of people who he feels are inferior.