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Lecture 25

ENGL 103W Lecture Notes - Lecture 25: Unconsciousness, Pentheus, Euripides

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Torsten Kehler

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Lecture 25
Pentheus’s Rationality
- Pentheus is new to the throne. He may be in a universal position as someone who is new to the
position, or perhaps he is trying to manifest his position
He feels a need to prove himself
- His age also makes him less restrainable
- Dionysus wants Pentheus to have to go (lust/voyeur): it is more entertaining for him that way
Spirituality vs. Political Leadership
- Pentheus believes because he is the dominant figure politically, he should also be the dominant
figure in the belief systems of his realm
That is what Euripides is making us look at
oJust because you are a political leader does not mean you should also be as spiritual
- Political, reasonable, rational behaviour is just as superficial
The mind was layered  stuff under the conscious
Euripides vs. Aeschylus
- Euripides vs. Aeschylus on religious power
Aeschylus: the avatars of vengeance : furies
oHighly simplistic
oThe Gods are on our side. They want to help us (Athena). They want reduce violence
and death
oOptimistic compared to Euripides
oGave us a Cosmos that were on our side to get rid of vengeance in our lives
Vengeance is unreasonable
Are justice and retribution really distinct or is there a balance?
oGods are highly violent
oDionysus is not a particularly gentile God
he is himself arrogant and overconfident
oPage 371: “this town...”
He has a mother rip apart her own son without recognizing it. This is a
powerful inversion of common sense
Not because of rationality they believe him
oDionysus is the God of ecstasy
Ecstasy: to be outside of yourself
oHe is saying that there are all these elements of life they don’t care one bit about
science, redric, or philosophy but they appeal to power
oEuripides believes that everything in the mid is layered
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