The Bacchae

How does Dionysus use these flaws to lead Pentheus to his ultimate destruction?

Euripides Bacchae translated with notes by Paul Woodruff

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The following link contains an excellent essay on these two characters, and the ultimate destruction of Pentheus.


The King makes the error of errors by trying to defy the god Dionysus. This big old mistake results in the King being ripped limb from limb by his Bacchus-crazed mother, Agave. A Messenger reports that just before Agave had her bloody way with Pentheus, he pleaded, "Have mercy on me, Mother, and because of my mistakes don't kill your son" (225). Did you catch the key word there? Pentheus admits to making a "mistake." Yep, sounds like a hamartia to us.

It's pretty easy to dislike Pentheus. The dude is kind of a stuffed shirt, and a total party pooper. When Agave and the other women of Thebes run off into the mountains to dance, drink wine, and praise Dionysus, Pentheus does everything he can to squelch the revelry. You should check out the source-link below.