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CT253 Lecture Notes - Pentheus

Contemporary Studies
Course Code
Barry Stephenson

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Ancients and Moderns
October 17, 2012
week 6, wednesday
social context in which the plays were preformed:
festival of dionysus
why important:
because dionysian stuff that our culture may be familiar with is on margins.
In 5th century dionysian is in the heart of the city- devoted time money and attention to the festival
399: Socrates killed
405: Bacchae
E. Dies
432: war with sparta
play is an allegory for the contemporary scene
Bacchae Interpretations:
story about punishment that results from a transgression. Pentheus transgression.
The play is an indictment of dionysian religion
all of this exuberant, sexualized, boisterous stuff is a threat to the moral order and look at what happens
when it runs wild,
palace destroyed etc.
This is reading between the lines.
Festival of dionysus-
emphasized choral singing in praise and honour of dionysus
(songs sung by a chorus)
Bacchae: an interpretation
incredibly violent play, as is much of greek tragedy.
Moral position of the gods
think about the law as not just a legal concept, but theoretical notion in cultural studies, principles that
govern social order.
Play is about recognizing the value of some kidns of trangressive behaviour.
Kinds of behaviour pentheus wants to outlaw, stomp out and kill.
Pentheus is always followed around by guards, he wants to use the power of state to stomp out these
people who want to run through the woods.
He reacts like civic authorities or some parents react.
He flies in the face of dialectical understanding
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