- Paperback: 42 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 30, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1463533489
- ISBN-13: 978-1463533489
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,520,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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"This text is one of the finest commentaries on any Greek play, and is also priced to be usable. Thank you!"--Linda Clader, Carleton College
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Usually, Bryn Mawr commentaries come with the Greek text. The information on Amazon says that the book is 28 pages. In fact the book I received was 21 pages and is only a commentary - it is missing the Greek text.
The poor rating in this review does not refer to the quality of commentary by Beth Causey but the fact that I expect commentaries to have a copy of the Greek text, and I expect books I order to be the same number of pages as stated in the information on Amazon.
Several of the reviews here seem to be of a different book altogether since they refer to an English translation of the text. I have never heard of a Bryn Mawr commentary that gave an English translation of the text.
Pentheus was the son of Echion and Agave, the daughter of Cadmus, the founder of the Royal House of Thebes. After Cadmus stepped down the throne, Pentheus took his place as king of Thebes. When the cult of Dionysus came to Thebes, Pentheus resisted the worship of the god in his kingdom. However, his mother and sisters were devotees of the god and went with women of the city to join in the Dionsysian revels on Mount Cithaeron. Pentheus had Dionysus captured, but the god drove the king insane, who then shackled a bull instead of the god. When Pentheus climbed a tree to witness in secret the reverly of the Bacchic women, he was discovered and torn to pieces by his mother and sisters, who, in their Bacchic frenzy, believed him to be a wild beast. The horrific action is described in gory detail by a messenger, which is followed by the arrival of the frenzied and bloody Agave, the head of her son fixed atop her thytsus.
Unlike those stories of classical mythology which are at least mentioned in the writings of Homer, the story of Pentheus originates with Euripides. The other references in classical writing, the "Idylls" written by the Syracusean poet Theocritus and the "Metamorphoses" of the Latin poet Ovid, both post-date"The Bacchae" by centuries. On those grounds, the tragedy of Euripides would appear to be entirely his construct, which would certainly give it an inherent uniqueness over his interpretations of the stories of "Medea," "Electra," and "The Trojan Women."
I see "The Bacchae" as being Euripides' severest indictment of religion and not as the recantation of his earlier rationalism in his old age. The dramatic conflicts of the play stem from religious issues, and without understanding the opposition on Appollonian grounds of Pentheus to the new cult readers miss the ultimate significance of the tragedy. This is not an indictment of Appollonian rationalism, but rather a dramatic argument that, essentially, it is irrational to ignore the irrational. As the fate of Pentheus amply points out, it is not only stupid to do so, it is fatal.
Yes he is a god of frenzy, but he is also a god of dying. I think this is why dance is sacred to him. Dance feels gravity's pull, leaps against it, succumbs to it, and leaps yet again. Life that is tied to the earth tries to transcend it, and struggles until it falls exhausted to the ground, only to rise and struggle again. It ain't all about exaultation, but is also about falling down.
Williams' translation sometimes flies away like a flock of pretty birds. Rudall keeps pulling us back to earth, back to the mysteries, and helps us plumb the depths of this play's truths. He doesn't let a bunch of pretties get in the way. He makes sure we see Everything.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
1986 2nd ed.
English Book lix, 253 p. ; 19 cm.Read more