Do not, under any circumstance, deny a god. This is the overt warning that the Ancient Greek tragedy Bacchae demonstrates to the play’s audience. When Dionysus, the god of wine and ecstasy, hears that his aunts are spreading the rumor that his mother did not conceive a child with Zeus but instead with a mortal man, he is insulted and plans to take revenge upon the entire city of Thebes. Once and for all, he proves himself to be the son of a god.
“Appropriately for a play about Dionysus, the most elusive of all gods, the Bacchae resolutely resists any single interpretation, and this, perhaps, is one of the reasons we regard it as an enduring masterpiece of drama.”
This play is about far more than the acknowledgement of a god, as the preface and introduction analyze in great. It is about women versus men, the rational versus irrational, society versus nature, and how to strike a balance between these dichotomies and others. Robin Robertson accomplishes his goal to translate Euripides’ Bacchae into a format this is both easy to read and easy to act. He manages to keep the poetry while clarifying the play’s primary messages. Remember, dear reader, not to mistake cleverness for wisdom.
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