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Word Count: 477
Moral-Social Values in The Bacchae One prevailing argument about The Bacchae as with many of his other works is whether Euripides propounds a revolutionary or a reactionary message about society This outlook however is skirting an essential element of The Bacchaes theme The moral-social values affirmed in Euripedes play are political only so far as philosophy itself is political Euripides investigates the dichotomy between Pentheus and Dionysus This conflict is used as a medium for commentary on the existing social order and the individuals relationship to society in terms of a social construct and personal illusion The antipodal relationship of these concepts defines a singular philosophical outlook that Euripides proposes The Bacchae formulates equilibrium between dichotomized elements of humanity Such a relationship is often looked upon as a natural equilibrium cited as an internal struggle or the pendulum of human philosophical existence Euripides extends this idea to social commentary His most powerful tool in this assertion is illusion and social construct Law order and the status quo are the all-encompassing elements of existence Thus the obvious repression of women is more important than their human consideration the acetic soberism of civil life takes precedence over emotional demands and overall the needs of an arbitrary construct of a repressive society are more important than the emotional needs of the members of that society This is most plainly presented through the character of Pentheus He has control over society but his subjects are discontent Tiresias warns Pentheus of the folly of ruling with logic rhetoric and force alone and expresses his discontent with Pentheus decisions especially his suggestion of praying to the gods to spare Thebes from the blasphemy of Pentheus In addition the guard sent to arrest Dionysus states that he has no desire to arrest the man as ordered but does so only under orders from the king ll 442 Pentheus seems most attuned to this construct as he has almost no sympathetic
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