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Euripides’s Revolution under CoverAn Essay$
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Pietro Pucci

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501700613

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501700613.001.0001

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Pentheus and Teiresias

Pentheus and Teiresias

24. Pentheus and Teiresias
Euripides’s Revolution under Cover

Pietro Pucci

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Teiresias's attempt to convince Pentheus to accept Dionysism. In the first part of his appeal to Pentheus, before the king orders his men to destroy Teiresias's religious seat, Teiresias says: “Come on, Pentheus, believe me, do not be too confident that sovereignty rules men.” Teiresias could not be more explicit about the weakness of political power in relation to other powers, especially in satisfying the human need to forget everyday sufferings. However, Pentheus rejects Teiresias's and Cadmus's political advice and replaces their arguments with his own perverse obsessions. This chapter discusses Bacchae's presentation of a city-state in which sexual seduction satisfies the leaders' lechery and/or helps their political success. It also considers Teiresias's response to Pentheus's misrepresentation of the Bacchants' sexuality.

Keywords:   sexuality, Teiresias, Pentheus, Dionysism, sovereignty, political power, Bacchae, city-state, sexual seduction, Bacchants

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