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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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Victory and Defeat

Victory and Defeat

28. Victory and Defeat
Euripides’s Revolution under Cover

Pietro Pucci

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Euripides's polemical representation of the anthropomorphic divine characters and the distressing vision of the failure of the state in Bacchae. More specifically, it shows that a brutal Dionysus would not have had access to the city. Like Euripides's other wretched stories of revenge, the story of Dionysus's revenge exhibits various symmetries. Pentheus and Dionysus gain satisfaction in the same way: Pentheus by insanely attacking the source of prophecies, Dionysus by inflicting on Cadmus the future sack of the seat of Apollo's oracular voice. This chapter considers Cadmus's imputation that Dionysus has behaved like a mortal and how Dionysus justifies his actions. It suggests that the anthropomorphism of Greek gods is absurd because as universal forces they need nothing personally or emotionally. It also explains how Bacchae renews the presentation of the tragic ambivalence of revenge.

Keywords:   revenge, Euripides, Bacchae, Dionysus, Pentheus, prophecies, Cadmus, Apollo, anthropomorphism, Greek gods

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