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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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Dionysus’s Revenge: First Round

Dionysus’s Revenge: First Round

25. Dionysus’s Revenge: First Round
Euripides’s Revolution under Cover

Pietro Pucci

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on Dionysus's revenge in the fist round of his attack on Thebes, during which he plays the role of man, perfectly simulating man's weakness and in fact counterfeiting his weakness only in order to publicly mock the impotence and ineptness of the king. Bacchae makes Dionysus play a contriving game with Pentheus, not in order to persuade him but to exhibit the god's unlimited and spectacular power to the external audience and to readers. This chapter considers how Dionysus's simulation in which he splits his character into a fake victim and a real mocker makes him unconquerable, but also complacent and petty. It suggests that Pentheus is defeated in the game that he plays by the superior intelligence and power of his enemy and highlights the impotence of politics before the mythical power of the gods.

Keywords:   revenge, Thebes, Bacchae, Dionysus, Pentheus, politics

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