© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Bacchae

The Bacchae

by Euripides

Analysis: Tone

Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?

Comic, Tragic

The Bacchae is amazing in that for all tragic woe it presents, it's still got tons of laughs. Old Cadmus and Tiresias doing a clumsy jig, the beguiled King Pentheus prancing around in women's clothes – all this in a play with ritual dismemberment and a mother parading through town with her own son's head in her hand. The blending of comic and tragic is an amazing innovation by Euripides. He really was a true dramatic pioneer.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement