The Bacchae by Euripides

Complete 5 pages APA formatted article: ‘The Bacchae’ by Euripides is a play about a king who fell from power while ‘Dr Faustus’ by Christopher Marlow is a tragedy of a. “Bacchae’” is a tale about the wrath of Dionysus the God of the god of wine, prophecy, religious ecstasy, and fertility that is directed at the people of Thebes who had disowned his existence as Dionysus was the son of Zeus and the princess of Thebes Semele. The play unfolds the story of Dionysus’s revenge on the people of Thebes for denying his existence and Pentheus’s actions of forbidding his people from worshipping Dionysus. The power play in the text is not only interesting but is also a projection of human psyche where ultimately man has to bend in front of the higher power willingly or unwillingly as power of the Supreme renders human beings helpless. Similarly “Dr. Faustus” is also a story about an individual who sales his soul to the Devil and after tasting forty years of power he becomes enslaved to Lucifer. Then again Marlow like Euripides explore the idea of the abuse of power and the fact that mostly human beings suffer because of their greed and lust, may it be for power, money or quest for knowledge. Moreover it is interesting to note the manner in which human beings abuse the power and later the penance they have to pay for their mistakes or misjudgments. Since the commencement of the play “Bacchae’” the readers observe a power struggle between Dionysus and Pentheus and the entire plot of the play revolves around this rivalry. Moreover the dramatist throughout the course of the play keeps providing the readers with hints about Pentheus’s character flaws or his abuse of power though these hints were more like subtle warnings for Pentheus to which he paid no heed. As old seer Tiresias describes Pentheus’s principal fault well when he says, “do not be too confident that / sovereignty is what rules men nor if you hold an opinion, take that opinion for good sense” (Euripides 22). The subtext of these lines can also be inferred as a lesson for the readers as well i.e. power corrupts and in order to circumvent one’s downfall it is necessary that an individual keeps in touch with his rational side as ‘power’ wields the authority of not only corrupting an individual and his soul but it can also absorb human rationality and intelligence. In the beginning of the play it is apparent that although Pentheus wielded complete power over the people of Thebes yet he was a fair ruler as he says in the text as well, “From me you do not have a thing to fear. It is never right to fume at honest men” (Euripides 32). However the entry of a Lydian stranger and his Maenads not only disrupts the law and order of Thebes but Pentheus feels threatened by this man and hence the abuse of power commences in the play as it is observed that he orders to chain, bound and torture the so-called delicate stranger. However the manner in which Dionysus uses his power i.e. when Pentheus tries to tie Dionysus he ties only a bull, when Pentheus plunges a knife into Dionysus the blade passes only through shadow it is the beginning of Pentheus’s punishment for his sins which ends with his death. It is stated in the play, “What is wisdom? Or what fairer gift from the gods in men’s eyes than to hold the hand of power over the head of one’s enemies? And ‘what is fair is always followed.’” (Euripides 45).

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