The Bacchae Transformation Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"Now I'd say your head was horned…
or were you an animal all the while?
For certainly you've changed…oh, into a bull." […]
Dionysus: "You see things as you ought." (178-179)
Though Pentheus speculates that the guy he thought was just a priest of Dionysus has changed into a bull, there's really been no transformation at all – at least on Dionysus' end. It's Pentheus's perception that has transformed. Now the King perceives Dionysus in one of his other forms a bull. Does this mean that gods exist in all their forms at once? As such, do they ever transform? When humans think they do, is it really just their perception that has shifted?
"The sins of jealousy and anger
made this Pentheus deal unjustly with one bringing blessings." (310)
Dionysus pronounces this as he appears at the end of the play no longer disguised as a mortal. He's appearing in his godly form to deal out judgment onto the mortals who've wronged him.
"As to you Cadmus,
you shall be changed into a snake." (310)
Part of Cadmus's fate is to be transformed into a snake. We wonder what the significance is of this specific animal. Could it be related to the snakes that the Maenads wrap in their hair?