Euripides Bacchae Literary Analysis

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Throughout Euripides’ Bacchae, there are plot elements which seem out of place for tragedy. However, these out of place plot elements serve as a comedic relief and a way to further the underlying thematic elements of the play. One of these seemingly out of place plot elements is the comedic way Agave handles the death of her child, which indirectly furthers the theme of feminism in the play. Without the comedic elements, such as Agave, the audience would cease paying attention after uncomfortable situations, such as the brutal death of Pentheus. Therefore, the way Agave handles the death of her son emphasizes the underlying theme of feminism, because her behavior helps to refocus the audience’s attention to the play. Pentheus’ death is drastically…show more content…
Consider Pentheus’ rejection to “put on a woman's outfit,” because he claims that putting on a woman's outfit is “disgusting” (Bacchae 828/36). Pentheus’ rejection of putting on a woman’s outfit stems from his desire to be known as masculine and strong, which is the opposite of how he views women: feminine and weak. Pentheus also desires to be “able to sneak through the city without being seen” when he finally succumbs and wears a women’s outfit (Bacchae 840). This desire suggests that Pentheus views the women who don’t belong out in the city and rather belong in the household. This stark difference in how Pentheus views each gender, instills the audience with an expectation of women’s femininity and submissiveness to men. Euripides perhaps instills this false expectation to shock the audience when the women behave in a masculine and strong manner, such as ripping Pentheus limb from limb. Therefore, a mood of seriousness develops through the audience’s expectations flipped expectations and unfamiliarity with the gruesome death of Pentheus. This sudden change of mood also shifts the focus of the audience from viewing the play trying to comprehend what they just
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