Date of Award

5-6-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. Mark Damen

Abstract

Of the extant classical and pre-classical hymns to Dionysus, both literary and cultic, none praises him as the god of drama nor explicitly connects him with theatre. This paper will argue that Euripides has modeled the dramatic action of The Bacchae on the conventional form of Greek hymns, creating a play that is a variegated quilt of songs, all designed in one way or another to extol Dionysus and the benefits he brings to humankind. Some of these have a conventional appearance; others are more imlOvative in content and form, in particular, what we call the "dran1atic hymn" which encompasses the middle part of the play. We wi ll argue that in these central scenes Euripides presents theatre itself as one more item to be added to the traditional li st of Dionysus' blessings, like wine and joy, those divine gifts most often featured in traditional hymns to this god. It is natural, then, that The Bacchae does not just recount this new benefaction through a straightforward narration, the way Homeric Hymns typically do, but reenacts it in a manner appropriate to drama, "the active art."

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History Commons

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