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Quotes

Quote #7

Chorus:
"Let Justice sworded walk
To strike through the throat and kill
this godless ruthless lawless man" (211)

It's interesting that the Chorus describes Pentheus as lawless. He'd probably say the same the thing about them. The Chorus, like Tiresias and Cadmus, adhere to a different set of laws than Pentheus – the laws of the divine.

Quote #8

Leader:
"Tell it all. Explain exactly how he died--
this perverse man, this purveyor of perversion." (224)

Pentheus constantly accuses the Bacchants of perverting the order of society, with their crazed revelries. Here, however, we see the Chorus call him the pervert. They see Pentheus's lack of fealty to Dionysus as the true perversion of what is right and good.

Quote #9

Pentheus:
"Have mercy on me, Mother,
and because of my mistakes do not kill your son--your son." (225)

Many Greek tragedies center around the violation of a pretty fundamental law. One of the most popular no-no's for a tragedian to write about was one family member killing another. Oedipus killed his father. Clytemnestra killed her husband. Orestes killed his mother. The list goes on. In The Bacchae we have a mother killing her son. What's interesting is that this horrific act is god sanctioned, and in fact isn't the choice of the mother at all. What makes it even more messed up is that Dionysus himself is related to these people. Pentheus is his cousin and Agave is his aunt.

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