Greek And Roman Mythology : The Writing Style Of Euripides ' The Bacchae

Greek And Roman Mythology : The Writing Style Of Euripides ' The Bacchae

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Throughout Greek and Roman mythology there are many themes, motifs, and symbols that are consistent amongst the different myths. Some of the more common ones include the abuse of mortals from the gods, the relationship between men and women, and the way in which lust operates in society. All of these are apparent in the writing style of Euripides in his text the Bacchae. This myth explores the battle between Dionysus, who has just returned dressed as a stranger, and Pentheus, who is the current ruler of the state, over the city of Thebes. As one reads this myth they will clearly identify some of the important subjects, however one detail that may not be noticed is the portrayal of Pentheus holding gender identity issues. There are many examples throughout the play that support the argument that would lead one to believe that Pentheus may be homosexual or transgender. Some of these include his outward interactions with Dionysus, restriction to truly express himself, and his response to being dressed as a women. As one closely analyzes the Bacchae it becomes more apparent that through Euripedes use of symbols, imagery, and specific words may depict Pentheus as being transgender.
Love and the pursuit of sexual relationships is often the main dispute in Greek and Roman mythology, and that is no different in the Bacchae. Pentheus has an over the top obsession with masculinity and sex and Euripides makes it obvious from the very beginning of this play. While these are two characteristics that one would tend to think would refute someone being transgender, however the over exaggeration of masculinity may be used as a cover up. An example of this is apparent in Pentheus’ opening lines of the play when he is describing the appearance...


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... comfort level suggests that he may identify himself with women, yet is fearful to admit it due to the societies social norms.
After a closer examination of Euripedes writing in the Bacchae it becomes ever so apparent that Pentheus is struggling with gender identity issues. It is first apparent that he may be attracted to the opposite sex through his interactions with Dionysus, where he often admires his beauty. Also his failure to truthfully express his own beliefs without negating himself due to social norms displays confusion on his identity. However Pentheus’ comfort level and curiosity to spy on the women in the mountains while dressed as one depicts that he may be transgender. After a closer examination on Pentheus in the Bacchae it is evident that he may be transgender, yet fails to truthfully announce it due to the social norms in Greek and Roman society.

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