Theater: Dire God of Joy

THE BACCHAE by Euripides

The Greeks placed man in a precarious magnetic field between what is aspiring, rational, noble and demigodlike in his nature and raw, tameless instinctual drives that would shame the beasts. That is the thematic core of The Bacchae. But the dramatic spring, common to ancient tragedy, is a test of implacable wills. A man pits himself against a god, a no-win situation. Man's hubris is crushingly rebuked by the divine imponderable, necessity. The tension is not in the contest but in the axiomatic revelation uttered by the chorus of the...

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