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But detection and policing, embodying the forces of reason and the Law, have no power against the Irrational or Unknowable, and Pentheus is soon made mad, his order and sense of self in tatters. The terrible grip of irony familiar from Greek Tragedy gives the play a violent momentum, but the most extraordinary scenes take place offstage, related in vivid and tumultuous monolgues by messengers - the whirlwind revenge of Dionysus' female followers on the forces of surveilling civilisation, and the cruel enactment of the God's revenge.

This idea of hearing about improbable catastrophes but not being able to see them adds ot the supernatural terror that is the play's fevered life-blood. By Pliplup on Jul 04, After having my eyes opened by Willaims' translation, I decided to revisit Rudall's work. While Williams is poetic and prone to flights of fancy, Rudall is more down to earth, which is appropriate for a god like Dionysus. Yes he is a god of frenzy, but he is also a god of dying. I think this is why dance is sacred to him. Dance feels gravity's pull, leaps against it, succumbs to it, and leaps yet again.


Life that is tied to the earth tries to transcend it, and struggles until it falls exhausted to the ground, only to rise and struggle again. It ain't all about exaultation, but is also about falling down. Williams' translation sometimes flies away like a flock of pretty birds. Rudall keeps pulling us back to earth, back to the mysteries, and helps us plumb the depths of this play's truths. He doesn't let a bunch of pretties get in the way. He makes sure we see Everything.

By Amazon Customer on Apr 30, The tragedy was performed in Athens after his death. These factors are important in appreciate this particular Greek tragedy because such plays were performed at a festival that honored the Dionysus, and in "The Bacchae" he is the god who extracts a horrible vengeance.

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The tragedy clearly demonstrates the god's power, but it is a terrible power, which suggests less than flattering things about the deity himself. After Cadmus stepped down the throne, Pentheus took his place as king of Thebes.

  • Dover Thrift Editions: Bacchae by Eurípides (1997, Paperback, Reprint).
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When the cult of Dionysus came to Thebes, Pentheus resisted the worship of the god in his kingdom. However, his mother and sisters were devotees of the god and went with women of the city to join in the Dionsysian revels on Mount Cithaeron. Pentheus had Dionysus captured, but the god drove the king insane, who then shackled a bull instead of the god.

When Pentheus climbed a tree to witness in secret the reverly of the Bacchic women, he was discovered and torn to pieces by his mother and sisters, who, in their Bacchic frenzy, believed him to be a wild beast. The horrific action is described in gory detail by a messenger, which is followed by the arrival of the frenzied and bloody Agave, the head of her son fixed atop her thytsus. Unlike those stories of classical mythology which are at least mentioned in the writings of Homer, the story of Pentheus originates with Euripides. The other references in classical writing, the "Idylls" written by the Syracusean poet Theocritus and the "Metamorphoses" of the Latin poet Ovid, both post-date"The Bacchae" by centuries.

On those grounds, the tragedy of Euripides would appear to be entirely his construct, which would certainly give it an inherent uniqueness over his interpretations of the stories of "Medea," "Electra," and "The Trojan Women. The dramatic conflicts of the play stem from religious issues, and without understanding the opposition on Appollonian grounds of Pentheus to the new cult readers miss the ultimate significance of the tragedy. This is not an indictment of Appollonian rationalism, but rather a dramatic argument that, essentially, it is irrational to ignore the irrational.

As the fate of Pentheus amply points out, it is not only stupid to do so, it is fatal. By Bukhtan on Dec 05, English Book lix, p. ISBN: pbk. I have never seen a better commentary on a Greek tragedy, and in fact the work may be of some value to Greekless readers, but it is NOT the translation referred to by the other reviewers at this site.

A Customer on Aug 30, Great drama. I'm not a huge "classics" fan and yet I enjoyed this. If you're into Greek mythology and like flowery language and prose and lots of melodrama you will enjoy this. HINT: don't read these plays line-by-line like a poem - I find that it's more difficult to follow them that way. Read this like you would a novel. By Lochesmoches on Jul 26, I teach AP English Lit, and I like to find inexpensive editions of novels and plays for my students to purchase.

This Dover Thrift edition is horrible because it uses a very old translation. When I read the description on Amazon, the publication date was given as , and the translation was called "fresh. It uses Latin word order all the time, which is fine for me because I also teach Latin and I am used to the direct object coming before the verb and subject which happens in Shakespeare quite often also.

Bacchae (Dover Thrift Editions)

However, I knew that my AP English students would become very confused and frustrated right away and would stop reading the play. When you look at the copyright info in this edition, you see that it was first published in , but it is based on a edition which follows a translation that was first published in That is not my idea of a "fresh" translation. The play is wonderful and students enjoy it when they can read it without frustration.

I don't want a dummied down translation, but I do want a translation that is accessible for 21st century students. By Rjones on Jun 23, Dionysos returns to the city of his birth, anxious for those honors which are due him. Pentheus, current ruler of Thebes and a cousin of our hero, doesn't accept him. Pentheus finds out he made a really bad mistake, when he ends up at the top of a pine tree!

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Euripides' masterpiece is a great as ever, and for the price it can't be beat. Highest rating! By Tim Thomas on Feb 03, No translator is credited for this text - the incredible story of Dionysus' entry into Greece which has interesting hints of hidden rituals and about which Nietzsche wrote extensively. Dodds, the Greek scholar, has also concentrated on it. The text here, published by Classicbooksamerica, uses a mock-Biblical English "doths" and "canst thous" , making it dreary for the contemporary reader.

By Allison Wilhite on Nov 15, This translation is more modernized, making for an easy read. Rowling and 2 more. Half Way Home. The Martian: Classroom Edition. A Novel. Continue shopping. Item s unavailable for purchase.

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Sort By: Bestsellers. Medea by Euripides series Dover Thrift Editions One of the most powerful and enduring of Greek tragedies, Medea centers on the myth of Jason, leader of the Argonauts, who has won the dragon-guarded treasure of the Golden Fleece with the help of the sorceress Medea. Having married Medea and fathered her two children, Jason abandons her for a more favorable match, never suspecting the terrible revenge she will take. Euripides' masterly portrayal The Trojan Women and Hippolytus by Euripides series Dover Thrift Editions These two powerful classics of ancient drama are excellent examples of the author's gift for adapting traditional material for decidedly nontraditional effect.

Through them Euripides critically examines social and moral aspects of contemporary life and even specific political events. He endows his figures with shrewdly observed individual character, implicitly deflating the emblematic simplicity The Bacchae, a late play staged posthumously, concerns the cult of Dionysus, god of wine, whose worship hinged largely on orgiastic and frenzied nature rites.

When Dionysus in disguise attempts to spread his cult The plot centers on the barbarian protagonist as she finds her position in the Greek world threatened, and the revenge she takes against her husband Jason who has betrayed her for another woman. Her very name is a byword for infamy. Legend has it that she murdered her own children for revenge.