The Bakkhai

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University of Massachusetts Press, Jul 1, 1978 - Drama - 82 pages
5 Reviews
Regarded by many as Euripides' masterpiece, Bakkhai is a powerful examination of religious ecstasy and the resistance to it. A call for moderation, it rejects the temptation of pure reason as well as pure sensuality, and is a staple of Greek tragedy, representing in structure and thematics anexemplary model of the classic tragic elements.Disguised as a young holy man, the god Bacchus arrives in Greece from Asia proclaiming his godhood and preaching his orgiastic religion. He expects to be embraced in Thebes, but the Theban king, Pentheus, forbids his people to worship him and tries to have him arrested. Enraged, Bacchus drivesPentheus mad and leads him to the mountains, where Pentheus' own mother, Agave, and the women of Thebes tear him to pieces in a Bacchic frenzy.Gibbons, a prize-winning poet, and Segal, a renowned classicist, offer a skilled new translation of this central text of Greek tragedy.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - quantum_flapdoodle - LibraryThing

This work explores what can happen to mere mortals when they reject the gods; Dionysus is not pleased that everyone denies he is the son of Zeus, so he decides to get his revenge. Bloody and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - est-lm - LibraryThing

Bacchae is one of my favorite Greek tragedies. It is a hot mess of a family drama filled with deception, two kinds of blindness, a party in the woods, and good old-fashioned man killing. Dionysus ... Read full review

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About the author (1978)

Euripides, one of the three great Greek tragedians was born in Attica probably in 485 B.C. of well-to-do parents. In his youth he cultivated gymnastic pursuits and studied philosophy and rhetoric. Soon after he received recognition for a play that he had written, Euripides left Athens for the court of Archelaus, king of Macedonia. In his tragedies, Euripides represented individuals not as they ought to be but as they are. His excellence lies in the tenderness and pathos with which he invested many of his characters. Euripides' attitude toward the gods was iconoclastic and rationalistic; toward humans-notably his passionate female characters-his attitude was deeply sympathetic. In his dramas, Euripides separated the chorus from the action, which was the first step toward the complete elimination of the chorus. He used the prologue as an introduction and explanation. Although Euripides has been charged with intemperate use of the deus ex machina, by which artifice a god is dragged in abruptly at the end to resolve a situation beyond human powers, he created some of the most unforgettable psychological portraits. Fragments of about fifty-five plays survive; some were discovered as recently as 1906. Among his best-known plays are Alcestis (438 B.C.), Medea and Philoctetes (431 B.C.), Electra (417 B.C.), Iphigenia in Tauris (.413 B.C.), The Trojan Women (415 B.C.), and Iphigenia in Aulis Iphigenia (c.405 B.C.). Euripides died in Athens in 406. Shortly after his death his reputation rose and has never diminished.

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