The Bacchae Man and the Natural World Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue. We used Paul Roche's translation.
"Ring the city round. Seal off every outlet. That's an order."
"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.
"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.
"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.