How we cite our quotes:
"If the town of Thebes becomes inflamed
and tries to oust my Maenads from the mountains,
I shall go out there myself
and lead my Bacchants in battle." (1)
From the very beginning there is a threat of violence in the play. Dionysus swears not to take any disrespect from Thebes, and he proves himself to be true to his words. This statement from Dionysus is the first hint of all the terror that is to come.
"The animal [Dionysus] we found was tame, sir:
put himself without resistance in our hands" (31)
Dionysus doesn't put up a fight when he's caught by Pentheus's men. Though he's capable of obliterating them all without any effort, he casually walks into Thebes. We wonder why he bothers with the deception. Could he be luring Pentheus into a sense of complacency? What do you think?
"You could see a woman with a bellowing calf
actually in her grip, tearing it apart. […]
ribs and cloven hooves
being tossed high and low;
and blood-smeared members dangling from the pines" (119)
OK, here comes the violence. The Maenads enact their rage at the intrusion of the Herdsman and his buddies by ripping apart the men's cattle. This horrific dismembering could also be seen as a sacrifice to Dionysus.