The Bacchae Violence 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.
"The villagers […]
took up arms against the manic ones [Maenads]
Then what a spectacle, my king, how sinister!
Their spear points drew no blood!" (119)
The villagers are completely defenseless in the face of the Maenads. When they try to meet the crazed women's violence with violence, they only bring more destruction on themselves. It seems there is no fighting with the will of the gods.
"you must not take up arms against a god." (122)
No kidding. Dionysus, in the form of the Stranger, warns Pentheus again and again not to try and use violence against Dionysus's followers. It's the same thing as trying to strike at Dionysus himself. The central spine of The Bacchae is a chain of increasingly violent reactions from the god and his followers against Pentheus's blasphemies.
"a most appropriate sacrifice
women's blood and massacre in the glens of Cithaeron." (125)
The King seems to be fully prepared to slaughter all of Maenads. Wait, aren't they his own people? Aren't his mother and aunts the leaders? It seems that Pentheus's obsessive refusal to accept the ways of Dionysus has turned him into a real monster.