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Euripides' The Bacchants (Jan29 Lecture)

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University of Toronto St. George
Victoria Wohl

CLA232 11.01.24 Euripides: The Bacchants Know Thyself (Gnothi Seauton) Oedipus In trying to escape his fate and control destiny, he ends up fulfilling it Cant act on the knowledge of his future, in trying to figure out who he is = destroys him What would happen if he could escape? The gods arent in control, the oracles are wrong No access to the divine will = might as well live at random Questions the trustworthiness of the oracles Oedipus and Jocasta refuse to believe Tiresias Belief in the oracles = belief in the goodness of the gods Chorus: if the oracle doesnt come true, there is no reason to believe; religion becomes meaningless Tragedy allows us to play the other, by defining the self through the other Reaffirms the identity of the self Bacchants Everything other, that a Greek man is not supposed to be Expansion of the self = dissolves the self Nothing in Excess (Meden Agan) If you avoid excess, is it possible to know yourself? Apollo (Sophrosune) moderation, rationality, wisdom, restraint = thinking safely Dionysus wine, madness, theatre Both central and peripheral Dionysus
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