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Lecture 5

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University of Toronto St. George
Victoria Wohl

Lecture 5 Jan 23rd 2011 Lecture 5 - Men, Gods, Beasts -Greeks use gods as a contrast to themselves -need fire, woman, food etc -Humans have a lack of power and immortality whereas the gods have power and are immortal -The bacchants dramatizes the inscription on temple of Apollo at Delphi “Nothing in ex- cess” -bacchants questions: “nothing in excess”; how do we know ourselves if we don't know our limits and how do we know our limits if we don’t cross them sometimes -Oedipus the Kind and The Bacchants -> together = “sophrosune” (a virtue of modera- tion, restriction and restraint) -morality -Dionysus -god of wine and beer, vine, wine, and etc -has a strange status in greek religion (sometimes included in the Pantheon sometimes not) -greek and foreign -male and female -central and marginal in greek religion -LOTS OF DOUBLENESS -human and divine -> allows him to bring a little bit of divinity into our human lives especially through WINE -his story: Zeus + Semele -> got preg. Told her sisters, they laughed at her, ask him to prove that he is Zeus by coming to her in his divine shape. He did thus burning her to a crisp, saved embryo by putting it in thigh so he is called “twice- born” (once from woman, once from Zeus). Another myth is that Hera sent Titans to cook and eat him; Zeus had to re-make him from the leftover -libation = liquid sacrifice -every time drink wine -> worshipping Dionysus -wine -make us forget our mortality = > “wine is a medicine for the human condition” Lecture 5 Jan 23rd 2011 -can be danger -Ikarios: Dionysus arrives in greece, Ikarios greets him and is nice to Dionysus so as a reward he teaches Ikarios how to make wine. Shared it w. Friends -> they got drunk, thought that Ikarios poisoned them so killed him and his blood ran into the wine (that is why wine is red) lesson = when forget sophrosune = dangerous The Bacchants: -In the play the bacchants have followed Dionysus from Asia -is fiction but the rituals may have been based on actual rituals -Sophrosune for woman = be obedient and etc BUT in worship for Dionysus -so worship of Dionysus offered escape from norms of everyday lives, kind of like an inversion of real life (woman control/defeat men, men become woman). Also see old men frolicking as if they were young (in), inversion of king and commoner (Stranger gives orders to Pentheus) SOCIAL INVERSION -> key to Dionysus religion which is different than Apollo religion (know thy self/your place). Dionysus religion -> FORGET YOURSELF, & your INDIVIDUAL identity; drink and dance together to worship Dionysus. In this process even human identity could be lost. Stand outside of normal self, let the god enter you. -two elements -> madness of Dionysus religion and then “sophrosune” of Apollo; Greeks were sure how Dionysus fits into their religion, so he is often represented as coming in from outside (always a foreigner). Since he comes in late, think of Dionysus as alien and Apollo/sophrosune as the “true religion” BUT they exist side by side. -worshipped by “crazy ppl” and rational men” -> shown by the religious/civic festival for which bacchants play was made for the Dionysusial (City (Greater) Dionysia); worshipped in the religious centre of Athens, 3 days long; majority of people watching the play = athenian men. Given encouragement to attend play (city would pay for citizen to attend). Plays th
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