2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

"Honor and Shame: the Struggle for Reputation in Euripides' Bacchae"


Adam H. Schmitz
Dr. Clifton Kreps, Faculty Mentor

When the god Dionysus arrives in Thebes at the beginning of the Bacchae, Pentheus, the king, immediately opposes him. Through his stubbornness he either fails to see or wilfully ignores many warning signs that Dionysus is truly a deity, and he meets a terrible fate after continuing to persecute the god's followers, the titular Bacchae. Pentheus' motivations for acting in this self-destructive manner are unclear. This paper contends that the agonistic mindset of Athenian society explains Pentheus' actions in the play. Pentheus perceives Dionysus as a direct threat to his own power and reputation, and chooses goes to war against a power he does not fully understand rather than risk losing his position in the established hierarchy.

Keywords: Euripides, Bacchae, Greek, Tragedy, Drama, Athens, honor, shame

Topic(s):Classics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: TBA
Location: TBA
Time: TBA

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