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The Bacchae

The Bacchae

by Euripides

Madness Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Dionysus:
"my mother's sisters […]
I've driven from their wits and from their homes:
out the mountains and out of their minds." (1)

Dionysus's first act of punishment is to drive all his mother's sisters crazy for denying the fact that he is a god. Ironically, the people who have denied his divinity are now out celebrating it. It makes sense that Dionysus would choose such a punishment, since he was thought to represent the irrational.

Quote #2

Chorus:
"the rounded timbrel […]
They gave it in the hand of
Mother Rhea to drum-beat
For shouting Bacchants raving.
The run-mad satyrs snatched it,
Joined it to the dances" (4)

A little madness now and then is a good thing. At least, that's what your average Bacchant would tell you. Wild frenzies are an essential part of their rituals. Some scholars say that the main message of The Bacchae is to show how it's important for humans to allow space for irrational to exist in their lives.

Quote #3

Tiresias:
"There is no cure for madness
when the cure itself is mad." (22)

The seer, Tiresias, is chastising Pentheus for not honoring Dionysus. Pentheus has been arguing that all the new god's crazy rituals are just that – crazy. Tiresias is trying to tell him that denying the madness that Dionysus brings is itself a crazy idea. One of the central ideas of the play seems to be the importance of finding balance between the irrational and the rational.

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