The Bacchae

Religious significance

Greek theater was a form of religious expression and worship.[36] The Bacchae re-enacts how Dionysus had come to be a god. In ancient Greek theatre, "role-playing is a well-known feature of ritual liminality."[37]

As an actor, religious worship is a direct experience. The actor would have experienced a "stepping out" of himself to become a representation of Dionysus. As a spectator, the experience comes from what is acted onstage, arousing emotions that sympathize with Dionysus. Collectively, through Dionysiac acting, there is a reintegration of the "other" into the "self," that is to say that Dionysus has been accepted and will be worshipped by the Greek people.[37]

Comparative analysis

Jesus's interrogation by Pontius Pilate from The Bible has been compared to Dionysus' interrogation by King Pentheus regarding his claim to divinity.[38]


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