The Bacchae

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Throughout Euripides' tragedy The Bacchae, there are many themes and symbols that allude to a deeper and more philosophical meaning to the play.This play is extremely complex, in an attempt to break it down symbolically, it can be argued why the symbolism and themes presented are philosophically important.Wisdom and recklessness, the unknown and the exotic, the foreign and the divine, the battle between the sexes, and civilization versus nature and hunting are some of the opposing themes and symbols seen throughout the play. These themes all lead to one major underlying theory being that to be infinite, one must be subservient to the Gods, if your are not, consequences will lead to one being finite. Pentheus and Dionysus are symbols for these different forces in the play. The Bacchae is about all of these forces, and the symbolism behind them.
One major symbol in the play is wisdom, which takes many different forms in the play.There is Pentheus' wisdom, of which he believes he is the ultimate source of wisdom.There is also the wisdom of the seer, of the old king, of the divinely possessed Maenads, of the devoted Bacchae, and finally of the God himself. All of these characters command a different form of wisdom; and from these different perspectives we gain insights into the God’s mysteries and the eventual tragedy of the play. Philosophically, each character believes that the wisdom they posses will lead them into the right way to live.This allows the reader to question, how we should live.Should we live our live like Dionysus, set free with no boundaries, or should we live as straight as an arrow, always following the rules in a cold dark world like Pentheus?
Wisdom’s opposite, recklessness, is a deep ignorance about oneself and the nature of the universe, and is yet another symbol in the personalities of the characters in The Bacchae. Throughout the play, it leads to excess, anxiety. It is a trait possesse…

The Bacchae

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"All work for no play makes one a dull boy/girl" – this timely phrase has been ingrained in modern minds across the western world.Spawns of today's society often believe in going out and seizing the day – "carpe diem."In much of the western world, people are taught to go out and experience life, to fulfill their passions and devotions, and to enjoy their short time they have on earth. This tradition reigns most fervently in highly-developed countries such as the United States, Japan, France, Britain, Australia, etc.The young celebrate a long week's work with a Friday night of intoxicating fun at a party.A family ventures into the realm of extreme sports by taking a weekend ski trip.People put themselves through the excruciating pains of punches and bloody noses when they enter boxing matches.People dive off from a moving plane hundreds of feet above the ground.People blow their eardrums away at concerts, jumping up and down screaming like there is no tomorrow.There is a general belief within much of the western world that to be a truly successful and fulfilled person, one must incorporate outrageous activities that allow one to really "experience" the wild side of life into one's ordered, structured life. This thought come in large part from the New Age thought and economic prosperity, but its roots can ultimately be traced back to the ancient Greek tradition, stemming in part from Euripides' The Bacchae.The Bacchae shows, through the extreme ends of tyrannical control and absolute frenzy, the need for balance between strict order and manic passion, or else, society will be doomed.Life cannot exist without stern organization, but simultaneously, life cannot exist without frenzied fervor.
The Bacchae presents the twin struggle between restraint and release.Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, prophecy, religious ecstasy and fertility, begins the play alr…