Study Guide

The Bacchae Man and the Natural World

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Man and the Natural World

Throughout The Bacchae there are images of humanity finding harmony with nature – ladies dancing in woods and mountains, drinking honey from the ground, breast-feeding baby animals (no, really). Of course, the play isn't just happy women prancing in the forest. We also see the destructive power that the natural world can wield – lighting, earthquakes, and man's own animal nature all take their toll on the characters in play. For more on this theme, check out "Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory" for in-depth discussions of the city vs. the wild, and man and nature in harmony.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. What difference exists between the way the male characters interact with nature versus the way the female characters do?
  2. How are the settings of the city and the country juxtaposed by Euripides? How is this juxtaposition exemplified through human behavior?
  3. How does Euripides use imagery to blur the distinction between human and animal in this play?
  4. Where do you see evidence of Dionysus using nature to carry out his plan of revenge?

Chew on This

Nature can be seen as a force of both destruction and creation in The Bacchae.

In The Bacchae, nature is associated with the irrational whereas civilization is associated with the rational.

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