The Bacchae Essay, Research Paper
The Ultimate Morality Test
The Bacchae represents an authentic interpretation that is full of temptation in the natural world. I am going to compare the temptations of society that we as individuals encounter everyday with the allure of nature in the Bacchae, specifically focusing on temptation offered by Dionysos. Humans in a civilized society have to make choices everyday resulting in their decisions whether they have positive or negative contrasting effects in compilation to societies norms.
From the beginning of the Bacchae, Pentheus seems to be the only rational person in the play. He does not give into his temptations to join the others to frolic in the forest. He is however very intrigued by Dionysos?s offering to join in on the fun and festivities of nature. Pentheus had an original instinct when confronted with the particular opportunity that Dionysos set before him. He was to deny the temptations and go with his original instincts resulting in using his rational thoughts. This meant that Pentheus had to put his transgressions aside and look for the good in this situation. He could not omit his original curiosity that he entailed from the stories of Dionysos and the first hand accounts from citizens of Thebes that partook in the orgiastic feast in the hills.
Dionysos had a master plan to overtake Pentheus?s senses from the very beginning. I compare Dionysos to the serpent, or Devil that eventually bribed Eve to do something she was strictly told not to do in the garden Eden. It took some force on the serpents? part but he eventually succeeded in this coercion tactic. Instincts that are imparted in our values are not easily overcome. The temptation is always there however to break the mold and lust after something that seemed inconceivable when first confronted with the situation. Symbolic interaction comes into play here. A symbolic meaning of morality is created by Pentheus and in turn his own language is produced. Pentheus feels he should do the right thing and deny Dionysos?s temptation. The individual interprets a valid response to this symbolic meaning of denial. Can Pentheus put his feelings out of sight and out of mind? He cannot in the end of the play and it costs him his life.
Pentheus relied on cultural relativism when he judged Dionysos for manipulating the citizens of Thebes. He judged Dionysos?s motivation for this act in the context of his own culture. Pentheus had original values that shaped and created a framework for his original norms of society. In a sense Pentheus created his own interpretation of a counterculture when he rejected the dominant values of society on the basis of his own set of norms and values. He began to feel that taking part and frolicking in the orgies in the woods was wrong. Pentheus used his own interpretation of dramatology to justify his actions for rejecting Dionysos?s offers. He created his own artificial play, much like a theatrical play. Pentheus?s interpretation of the front stage was his outward feeling of denial towards Dionysos?s offerings of bliss in nature. His backstage was his internal emotion of curiosity for what he could not see. He could not let Dionysos know of these intense feelings at the beginning. Pentheus also used props and other actions to portray his feelings of rejecting Dionsos?s advances and opportunities. By putting Dionysos in prison he revealed that he did not want to back down, and was serious about keeping social order in Thebes. But Pentheus in reality feels drawn into the evil plan that Dionysos has conceived. Dionysos quotes ?You?ve fallen in love with my idea. You can?t wait. Why? (87)? Pentheus replies, ?I?ll see them drunk, hopelessly drunk. It revolts me, but?I??(87)? This passage explains the theory that know matter how hard Pentheus wants to reject the idea of giving into his human nature, he must. Pentheus is then transformed seemingly by Dionysos as he is lured to take part in the festivities of the wild women in the hills. Pentheus then used props to give himself artificial delight by hiding behind women?s clothing when his curiosity got the best of him.
In conclusion, we all long for what we can not have in life. It?s a part of human nature to thrive by our own personal morals and values, but also live by society norms. Pentheus was tempted because of human nature, but he couldn?t reveal his feelings because of his pride. In the end his curiosity got the best of him. As we read in the play, Pentheus climbed up a tree to finally see what he had been rejecting to see all along. Thus the God of wine eventually got the best of him after Pentheus revealed his vulnerability of his own human nature.
Stages of Drama: Carl H Klaus