The Bacchae

Conflict in The Bacchae 12th Grade

In The Bacchae by Euripides, the major conflict that results in tragedy is the struggle between Pentheus and Dionysus for control over the city of Thebes, especially through the control of the women. German philosopher Hegel theorizes that the key to tragedy is not simply a conflict between right and wrong but rather a conflict between right and right. In this instance, there is merit to both sides of the conflict between Pentheus and Dionysus. Additionally, by Hegel’s definition, the tragic figure, who in this case is Pentheus, must struggle between expanding their own perspective and refusing to change their standpoint on the issue at hand.

The conflict between Pentheus and Dionysus for control of Thebes through the control of women satisfies Hegel’s definition of tragedy because as Pentheus makes decisions at the hands of Dionysus that lead to his demise, it is apparent that his mistakes are far more tragic because there is rectitude in every facet of this conflict. The conflict between Pentheus and Dionysus is rooted in valid motivations on both sides. Pentheus is right in his belief that something must be done about Dionysus’ influence on the women of Thebes because as a political leader, he simply wishes to gain control...

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