The Bacchae was written by the Athenian playwright Euripides.
(small blast of trumpets)
It won first place in a city’s playwriting competition called the Dionysia. It is a tragedy, based on a myth of King Pentheus who slanders a god. In those days, you never slander a god. Do that, and bad things happen. To doubt that Dionysis was the son of Zeus, is to have the God of wine and merriment show up on your doorstep with his minions. These are drunken women, sotted on wine, who do the God’s bidding. These are uncontrolled women, doing what they want (horrors), off in the hills partaking in unrestrained orgies (where are their husbands and fathers?). They have even been reported to be killing cattle in the hills, and running about the hills at night.
What will become of society?
I can’t help to think of a wine merchant named KADOS (I made him up) coming home after seeing a performance of the Bacchae. What he must have thought upon opening the door and seeing his wife and sister arguing over dinner?
A bit of advice at the beginning of the play provides a bit of foreshadowing. An old seer warns the king not to offend the gods or he will suffer the same fate as Actaeon “when carnivorous hounds tore him apart when he boasted that he was better at hunting than the Goddess Artimis.”
So what is the main point of the Bacchae?
DO NOT CROSS THE GODS!
I know, an over simplification. However, I would like to make an observation. There is a certain brilliance for the author (Euripides) to make the scary, uncontrolled chorus (the women) the characters to be feared. The era of 407 b.c. their sex, especially in Ancient Greek Society, were the most controlled of all. The ‘oppressed’ became the ‘monsters’ (I use that word carefully because I am about to speak about Steven King). Could I say that Euripides was the Steven King of his age? The genre of Horror takes the ‘recognizable’, the everyday, and makes it unimaginable, whether a dog name CUJO, a clown name PENNYWISE, or the women of 407 b.c.