National Theatre of Greece – Thanos Papakonstantinou

by Euripides


Euripides’ Bacchae –the tragedy of Greece, of rulers and of people, according to Jan Kott– was written in the third decade of the Peloponnesian War, when History had already run rampant, and recounts the arrival of Dionysus in Thebes. Euripides composed it during his stay in Macedonia, where he was introduced to the Dionysian cult. When the god Dionysus arrives in Thebes, King Pentheus refuses to acknowledge his first cousin as a god and by his power makes the spread of the new cult illegal. His defiance arouses the wrath of Dionysus who, through a tragic reversal between the persecutor and the persecuted, leads Pentheus to annihilation by his own mother.

The work is marked by strict consistency of form and enormous inner strength, while at the same time revealing the poet’s keen interest in mysticism and ecstasy. The tragedy’s central dramatic themes are the possibilities of the soul, human virtue, self-consciousness, prudence, and fallacy, the rational and the irrational, all of which emerge from the antithesis between man and God, the same antithesis from which the drama’s tragic conflict arises.


With Greek and English surtitles