Pentheus


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Pentheus

(pĕn`thēəs), in Greek mythology, king of Thebes, son of Cadmus' daughter Agave. When Dionysus came to Thebes, Pentheus denied his divinity and tried to prevent his ecstatic rites. The women of Thebes, led by Agave, were driven mad by the offended god and tore Pentheus to pieces. The story is the subject of Euripides' Bacchae.
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The 'Pentheus' mosaic is one of some 5,000 objects on display here--an impressive amount, though still only a fifth of the museum's holdings.
The staging of "opsis" in this tragedy, as Weird and Wayward as its Three Sisters, moves toward grotesque reduction, and a mocking, even ludicrous distortion of identities: decapitation and display on a pole does await Macbeth, but it is doubtful if he becomes a "pharmakon" like Pentheus in The Bacchae.
In the prologue we learn that Pentheus has banned the ritualistic worship of Dionysos, the young god of intoxication and also, as Carson notes, of beginnings.
Failure to do so is, after all, what got Pentheus killed.
Like a modern-day Pentheus, they mistake a frenzied Dionysian desire for rebirth into the immortal life of zoe through the dissolution of the mortal self (bios) for mindless vice, lawless barbarism, and rebellion against all social order.
In Euripides' Bacchae, Pentheus denies the godhood of Dionysus, who has come to Thebes to claim his right to be worshipped.
On this practice in the Life of Apollonius see Van Dijk 2009 (on Odysseus); Praet, Demoen and Gyselinck 2011 (on Dionysus and Pentheus); Miles 2016a on Hippolytus.
After the introduction, there are four chapters of this survey entitled "Narrators and Narratees," "Focalization," "Time" and "Space." Part II then provides in-depth analyses of the Aphrodite and Anchises love affair in the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite; the story of Atys and Adrastus in Herodotus' Histories (Book I); and the death of Pentheus in the messenger report from Euripides' Bacchae.
By facilitating Pentheus's voyeuristic intrusion at the pious revelry of his followers, Dionysus catalyzes a scenario in which Pentheus suffers ritualized and ecstatic dismemberment at the hands of his own mother, who now directs her Dionysian fervor at kindred prey rather than an animal.
He tries to describe the nature of the Dionysian to Pentheus, Thebes's ruler, by first pointing how Pentheus's "gift for phrases"--his "glibness" and his considerable skill at making speeches--is a "danger" to himself and his fellow men.