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.
"[…] a fawn at play in the green
Joy of a meadow, escaped from the […]
of the hallowing huntsman." (171)
You can find the motif of hunting throughout The Bacchae. It falls right into the whole man vs. nature thing, right? Humans go out into nature to shoot things and eat them. Seems pretty straightforward. This particular shout out to hunting is pretty interesting though, because it could be alluding to Pentheus who is about to get snared in Dionysus's trap. It's kind of a reversal, because throughout the play Pentheus is the main representative of the world of man, and now he'll be hunted like an animal.
"Without a trap I trapped him:
This tenderest whelp of a lion." […]
"He looks like a beast of the wild with his hair." (231-246)
Throughout the play the line between man and animal is blurred. Dionysus appears in both forms, the Maenads are constantly described as animal-like, and here Agave has mistaken her own son for a lion, ripping him apart. This blurring could be seen as a way of showing that human beings are a lot more like animals than we'd like to admit, that we're not as removed from the natural world as we pretend to be.
"Great Dionysus, breaker of barriers
Son of the Father imperial;
Vine-clad god and priest of the natural" (308)
The Chorus celebrates Dionysus as a champion of the natural world. They highlight how he is a being that blurs the line between man and nature, bringing the opposing forces together. Sometimes this union is violent and sometimes peaceful. Whatever it takes, Dionysus seems bent on reminding humanity of its roots.