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 an exemplary 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 drives Pentheus 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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Aeschylus AGAU╦ CHORUS AGAU╦ AGAU╦ KADMOS AGAU╦ AgauŰ’s lament Aktaion antistrophe Aphrodite associated Athens AutonoŰ Bacchae bacchants Bakkhai Bakkhic Bakkhos barbarian birth blessŔd body bring Bromios bull child CHORUS AGAU╦ CHORUS chorus’s Christus Patiens cult dance daughter of Kadmos death Dionysiac Dionysiac Poetics Dionysiac worship DIONYSOS PENTHEUS DIONYSOS divine Dodds dramatic dress E. R. Dodds ecstatic emendation emotional English epiphany Euripides father female festivals fifth century god’s goddess gods Greece Hades hands head Hera holy honor hunt KADMOS AGAU╦ KADMOS killed king KybelÚ lines Lydian madness maenads male manuscript Messenger’s speech meter mortal mother Mount Kithßiron mountain mysteries myth Oedipus palace passage PENTHEUS DIONYSOS PENTHEUS physis play play’s punishment reference revels Rhea rites ritual role royal house scene Seaford SECOND MESSENGER SemelÚ sisters song Sophocles sparagmos stage stasimon strophe suffer Teiresias Theban Theban maenads Thebes thyrsos translation vases wild wine women words young Zeus