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Female Rebellion And It's Impliactions In The Bacchae

980 words - 4 pages

Euripdies' The Bacchae is known for its celebration of women's rebellion and patriarchial overthrow, claims which hold truth if not supremely. The Thebans, along with other women, pursue the rituals and culture of Dionysus’s cult which enacts their rebellion against men and the laws of their community. However, this motion to go aginst feminine norms is short lived as they lose power. When Agave comes to her epiphany, Dionysus is the one who is triumphant over Pentheus's death, not Agave or her sisters These women must be punished for their rebellion against both men and community. This female power is weakened and the rebellion muted in order to bring back social order and also to provide ...view middle of the document...

Pentheus reacts extremely to the women even when first entering the play. He says, “I heard about strange new evels throughout the city--...I've shackled with chains all those I captured/and thrown them into public jails wher emy soldiers keep guard...After fastening them tight in nets of iron” (216-231).
For Pentheus, the best method of creating obedience is through boundaries and enclosure. Boundaries play an interesting role in The Bacchae as they serve as a guide between what constitutes as a good or bad member of society. The Theban women who have escaped to nature pose as particular threats since they've broken away from these preconcieved boundaries. They have been given particular powers not granted to those who confine to societal boundaries, particuarlily the ability to destroy and other magical powers granted by Dionysus. Pentheus and his citizens have no other choice but to suppress this rebellion in order to keep order within Thebes (despite the women's presence acting as an outside force). By exisiting outside the boundary, the women are also outside the line of normalacy and are granted supernatural powers which can control nature. The Theban women are reported to extract both honey and wine from nearby trees and rocks by tapping their thyrus. Their power wavers back and forth between tranquility and warfare, subconcious rituals allowing their destructive nature to release. Destruction for the Bacchant interestingly only occurs when they worship Dionysus through dance and are unable to control their own bodies. Animalistic tendies overcome their rationality and they act as savage hunters. In Pentheus's scene of destruction the women grow violent and, “One was carrying an arm,/ another a foot still in its hunting boot. The ribs were laid bare/by the tearing apart. All th ewomen, with blood-spattered hands,/were playing ball with Pentheus's hands” (1132-1136).
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