The Bacchae

Genesis and the Bacchae

The characters of Agave and Eve, while subordinate to their male counterparts, Pentheus and Adam, play extremely important roles within The Bacchae and Genesis, respectively. Their characters are portrayals of typical women who, because of encounters with the divine, are able to break away (albeit temporarily and not without repercussion) from the constraints placed on them because of their gender. Both women must give something up for this elevated power; Eve must give up her innocence in exchange for knowledge of "good and evil" and Agave must give up her ability to reason in exchange for power and freedom. The punishments handed down to each woman by her respective god are severe. This process of sacrifice-empowerment-punishment helps to demonstrate a main theme in both stories: humankind is subservient to the divine and cannot occupy a god's position.

Eve is created by God as "a helper and a partner" (Genesis 2:18) to Adam. This establishes from the beginning that woman is in a way subservient to man. However, the use of the term "partner" suggests that this does not imply total servitude. Other than her position as Adam's helper, Eve's status is not clearly defined. She and Adam...

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