The tragedy “the Bacchae” is part of Iphigenia at Aulia. The tragedy tells a story of the divine nature of Dionysiac and punishment. Following Aristotle’s view of tragedy, it is possible to say that this play meets the canon and is based on the main steps of classical tragedy. The Bacchae is driven by the “law of probability and necessity”. The main characters cannot escape punishment depicted as a necessary evil. Dionysiac initiation fails both as a person and as a collective rite. To put it in another way: as portrayed in the tragic genre, Dionysiac initiation culminates in a cruel interplay of illusion and reality. In the Bacchae, the plot is the most important element of the narration in contrast to minor roles of characters development. Tragedy dwells on the notion of the ritual as a placeless being, a danger for himself, a threat, and a contagion for the wider community into which he cannot be integrated anew. Dionysiac initiation is steered towards the space of the City and it is a thoroughly civic ritual pattern that acts as the embracing frame. In the Bacchae, Europium uses speeches to portray and analyze the characters and their actions. Another important element of the tragedy is a chorus that repeats some ideas and predicts tragic actions. All these elements are strongly associated with one of the most central rituals of ancient societies, the ritual of sacrifice, which defines the human condition by demarcating its proper space as the sphere ‘in between’ the realms of beasts and gods. As the most important, the end of the play is tragic inspiring such emotions like grief and sorrow. At the end of the play, Agave asks: “Father, where’s the body of my dearest son? Cadmus replies: I had trouble tracking the body down. I brought back what I found” (1606-1608).
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I suppose that the combination of all elements above creates a unique understanding and perception of tragedy and the tragic end. The dramatized issue qualifies for his initiatory dissociation from the wild and his alignment with the tame and civilized side of his own mythical and cultic personality. The notion of ‘fertility’ is not articulated, and yet it has clearly undergone a change, since artistic productivity is understood as the unique aptitude for rendering a service, proving himself useful to his actions. The tragedy is foreshadowed by the chorus and readers can predict some outcomes of the characters’ actions. Thus, Euripides depicts that the community and the collective values prevail over the individual, and the values of the family are entirely consistent with the supreme ideal of subordinating private interest to the demands of the common good. To sum up, key ‘moments’ of the play manifestly converge, and their convergence helps readers to make sense of Dionysus’ choice. Moreover, in the play’s second part it is precisely the judgment of Dionysus, in his new and elevated status, which resumes and reunites some of the cardinal thematic units interspersed up to that moment at various points of the dramatic elements.
The main lessons conveyed by the play are proper religious values and strict personal values of a man. A person cannot exist without strong personal values based on the moral rules and traditions of society. The unique dimension of the Bacchae that Dionysus rejects has already been touched upon in the progress when the Chorus Leader castigated the most important exemplifications of private gain and ambition.
Euripides. The Bacchae. N.d.