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Analysis

Literary Devices in The Bacchae

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Euripides contrasts images of the natural world with the world of man throughout The Bacchae. All through the text, the playwright compares the walled city of Thebes with the wild landscapes that s...

Setting

The Bacchae is set in the ancient city-state of Thebes. It's interesting that though most Greek tragedians lived in Athens, their plays are hardly ever set there. In fact, it wasn't allowed. Maybe...

Genre

We say the play is a drama because, umm…it's a play, a piece of literature that can only be fully appreciated when it's put in front of a live audience. More specifically we dub it a tragedy....

Tone

The Bacchae is amazing in that for all tragic woe it presents, it's still got tons of laughs. Old Cadmus and Tiresias doing a clumsy jig, the beguiled King Pentheus prancing around in women's cloth...

Writing Style

Euripides' style is often said to be much more "modern" than Aeschylus or Sophocles, the other great tragedians. This is because his dialogue often sounds almost conversational, much like modern re...

What's Up With the Title?

Ancient Greek tragedians never got too creative with their titles. The Bacchae is named after the worshipers of Bacchus (a.k.a. Dionysus). These lovely ladies (check out our "Character Analysis" fo...

What's Up With the Ending?

The ending of The Bacchae is remarkable because nobody learns anything. If you listen to Aristotle, tragedies are supposed to end with the hero having an anagnorisis. This is Greek for a moment of...

Tough-o-Meter

OK, it is a Greek tragedy. There's heightened language and tons of long speeches. However, the play is also fast paced, funny, and incredibly gruesome. There's really no chance of getting bored wit...

Plot Analysis

Dionysus swears punishment.Dionysus fills us in on all we need to know at the beginning of the play. The god comes out and launches into a monologue that gives us some exposition (back-story) about...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy

Dionysus declares that he will punish Thebes for denying his divinity.Dionysus sets the stage for tragedy when he determines to punish the house of Cadmus for denying his godliness. He takes over t...

Three Act Plot Analysis

The first act begins with Dionysus declaring that he's in the midst of punishing the house of Cadmus for denying that he's a god. He's taken over the minds of the women of Thebes and sent them off...

Trivia

Euripides wrote The Bacchae while in Macedonia not Greece. (Source)The play was premiered in Athens after Euripides's death and was directed by his sons. (Source)Euripides saw the rise and fall of...

Steaminess Rating

There's plenty of talk of sex in The Bacchae. Pentheus imagines that his mother and the other Maenads are out in the mountains having wild orgies. However, everybody that goes out to observe the la...

Allusions

Zeus (1,4, 21, 22, 37, 38, 83, 94, 119, 170, 310)Hera (1, 22)Rhea (1, 4)Cybele (2)Fates (2)Aphrodite (21, 29)Demeter (22)Ares (22, 319)Apollo (22)Artemis (24)http://www.theoi.com/Ouranios/Erotes.ht...
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