CLAS 203 Lecture Notes - Lecture 19: Cronus, Telegony, Odysseus
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CLAS203 Lecture 19 Notes
o Argos: King Proetus and his daughter, the Proetids
Similar to the daughters of Minyads. The Proetids are driven mad and
think they are cows. They go out into the wilderness and start feasting on
infants and finally two gets reclaimed.
o Attica (Icarium): Icarius (not Icarus!), Erigone, Maera
Dionysus is hosted by Icarius in Attica. Dionysus rewards Icarius by telling
him the secret of making wine. Icarius puts this knowledge into practice
and decides to share the wine with all the other inhabitants. The other
inhabitants in Attica think Icarius is trying to poison him so they kill
Icarius. Icarius’ daughter Erigone, and her dog Maera, go to search for
Icarius’ body. Upon finding it, in despire, Erigone and Maera commit
suicide. Dionysus afflicts the area with famine and with madness. It takes
the intervention of the king of Athens to punish the murderers before the
madness leaves and the women become fruitful again.
o Thebes: Tiresias, Cadmus, Pentheus, Agave (Baccae by Euripides)
Dionysus wants to go home and visit his home city. He goes to Thebes
and has two goals: to establish himself as a god to be worshipped and to
punish the sisters of Semele for spreading rumours about her, particularly
Agave. Dionysus comes with a group of his followers, the Baccae, and
encourages the people of Thebes to worship him. Some women and men
are very much in agreement to join the Baccae. Tiresias, the prophet, and
Cadmus, the aging King of Thebes are part of Dionysus followers. Cadmus
passed on the throne to his son, Pentheus, who does not want anything
to do with worshipping Dionysus is on the verge to calling the army to get
back the women who have gone out to worship Dionysus. A young boy
appears in Pentheus’ courtroom who warns him that the god should not
be opposed and is dangerous. The boy tells Pentheus to accept the god,
but instead of accepting the offer, Pentheus has the boy chained.
Following the act, there is an earthquake and the palace is in ruins; the
only thing remained standing is the prison where the young boy was.
Warning Pentheus the second time, Pentheus agrees to go see what the
women who were worshipping Dionysus were doing. Pentheus’ mother,
Agave, and other sisters rip the king from the tree and rip him to shreds
as if he was a wild beast. Bringing the head of her son (thinking it was a
lion) back to Thebes the next day proclaiming she killed an animal, the
madness leaves her upon seeing Cadmus and realizes what she has done.
At that point, Dionysus appears and says to Cadmus and Agave for their
offense against him, they have to be exile from Thebes and cannot bury
their son, Pentheus
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