© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2011 DOI: 10.1163/156852511X505024 Mnemosyne 64 (2011) 37-57 brill.nl/mnem Perspectives on Violence in Euripides’ Bacchae Simon Perris Victoria University of Wellington, Classics Programme, Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand firstname.lastname@example.org Received: April 2009; accepted: May 2009 Abstract This paper examines the treatment of violence in Euripides’ Bacchae , particularly in spoken narrative. Bacchae is essentially a drama about violence, and the mes- senger-speeches establish a dialectic between spectacle and suffering as different conceptions of, and reactions to, violence. The ironic deployment of imagery and allusion, particularly concerning Pentheus’ body and head, presents violence as ambiguous. The exodos then provides a model of compassion, in which knowl- edge of guilt does not preclude sympathy, nor does ambivalence towards violence. Finally, it is concluded that the paradoxical humanitas of this Dionysiac tragedy is grounded in its presentation of violence as a source first of pleasure, then of pain, allowing spectators to be both entertained and shocked. Keywords Euripides, Bacchae , violence, messenger-speeches Das Theater mit seinen realen Körpern vor einem öffentlichen Publikum ist eine Form, für die die Frage der Darstellung von Gewalt immer von beson- derer Bedeutung ist. (~ Simon Goldhill) 1) Greek tragedy is
Mnemosyne – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2011
Keywords: violence; messenger-speeches; Bacchae; Euripides
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