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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Analysis

Man and Nature in Harmony

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Nature isn't only depicted as a force of destruction in The Bacchae. Euripides also gives a quite a bit of imagery which could be seen as symbolic of the possible harmony between man and the wild. The Herdsman's report to King Pentheus is full of these kinds of images. He tells the King that "Some [Maenads] fondled young gazelles or untamed wolf cubs in their arms and fed them with their own milk" (119). This image of the women nurturing young animals seems to be symbolic of the possible union between humans and nature. The Herdsman goes on to say that, "Anyone who fancied liquid white to drink just scratched the soil with fingertips and got herself a jet of milk" (119). Here we see that the relationship can be reciprocal. Perhaps the point is that if we as human beings give to nature it will give back to us.

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