Who Is Dionysus 'By Euripides' Bacchae

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In Bacchae Euripides grapples with themes of theatre and art. Euripides looks to make a commentary about how we consume art in the most ironic medium possible. He is addressing the very audience there to consume his art. His use of metatheatrical devices are not blatantly obvious, but the message is seeped in through the undertones of the story. He tells us something about the audience without ever blatantly stating that this is the true message. Often throughout this play Euripides urges the reader and audience member alike to think about our preoccupation with seeing and being seen. It is the right of a consumer of art to see. The audience mentality to view and consume is almost to the point of entitlement. It is not considered, however, how the consumer is viewed. The audience, or reader, can make the mistake of assuming that…show more content…
You cannot take on the guise of a Bacchae, expect to peek into the world of full saturation into theatre and expect to emerge from it unchanged and unscathed. To truly worship Dionysus you must give yourself over completely, and by extension you are giving yourself over to art. Pentheus represents us as the audience. Pentheus is the ignorant voyeur, a bad audience member. He imagines the bacchae “like birds in a thicket, held in a sweet tangle of sex!” (Euripides 997-8). This perverted, voyeuristic spectator he wishes to become reveals his misunderstanding of art, women,and spectatorship. One of the most tragic roles to take in the world of art is the consumer who has no understanding of what they consume, and more tragic still, the consumer who never considers how they are changed by art. Art always says more about the audience than it does the artist. Pentheus cannot give himself over to view the role of women in any light other than a sexual, domestic one. He misunderstands the art he views, and believes he will remain an unaffected party of it and he suffers for this

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