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The Bacchae

The Bacchae

by Euripides
 Table of Contents

The Bacchae Man and the Natural World Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Pentheus: "Ring the city round. Seal off every outlet. That's an order." Dionysus: "Whatever for? Can gods not somersault over walls?" (111-112)

Dionysus points out that the gods can't be contained by the man-made city. This could be seen as symbolic of the helplessness of man in the face of nature. The gods themselves represent the untamed primal forces, while the city represents the machinations of mankind.

Quote #2

Herdsman: "Some [Maenads] fondled young gazelles or untamed wolf cubs in their arms and fed them with their own milk." (119)

Some of the women possessed by Dionysus have apparently taken to breast feeding baby animals. Kind of a strange hobby, we guess, but it's also another image of human beings and nature in harmony. The union of the Maenads and these young creatures can be seen as an intimate and holy thing.

Quote #3

Herdsman: "Anyone who fancied liquid white to drink just scratched the soil with fingertips and got herself a jet of milk" (119)

Here we have the reverse of the previous image of the Maenads breast feeding young animals. Whereas before we saw the women nurturing nature, now we see nature nurturing the women. The possibility of true union between humanity and the natural world is shown in these complementary images.

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