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Quotes

Quote #4

Pentheus:
"From me you do not have a thing to fear.
It is never right to fume at honest men." (118)

Pentheus assures the Herdsman that it is OK for him to tell the whole story of the Maenads even if it the tale contains things the King doesn't want to hear. Though he seems to come off as angry and closed minded for most of the play, this hints that he previously ran Thebes in a pretty rational and even-tempered way. It's only towards anarchy of Dionysus that he gets all cranky. It seems that Pentheus is a man who greatly values order.

Quote #5

Herdsman:
"They [Maenads] tore like an invading army
through the villages […]
They snatched up babies out of homes.
They carried fire on their flowing heads and it did not burn them." (119)

Looks like Pentheus has got a full-blown case of anarchy going on. Once you've got baby snatching and flaming-headed ladies running round, there's no denying it. By trying to suppress the celebrations of the Maenads he's caused disorder in the entire countryside.

Quote #6

Dionysus:
"I'm your lady's maid." […]
Pentheus:
"There you dress it. I'm all yours now."
Dionysus:
"Tch! Tch! Your girdles loose,
And your skirts all uneven at the ankles." (183-185)

Here, both Dionysus and Pentheus are taking on feminine roles. Dionysus play acts at being a lady in waiting, while Pentheus acts like a straight up princess. This blurring of the lines between male and female is another example of the way that Dionysus shatters the carefully ordered social structure of Thebes.

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