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Euripides: Bacchae (Cambridge Translations from Greek Drama) Paperback – 20 Jul 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 111 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Reprint edition (20 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052165372X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521653725
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13.6 x 0.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 704,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Jan 2002
Format: Paperback
I used Franklin's translation of Euripides' "Bacchae" for a piece of coursework and it was fabulous. The language is modern, which especially helped to convey the anger of Pentheus.
This use of language makes the translation easily accessible to a modern audience, and it would be an ideal version to use therefore when putting on a production.
I also found it to be an excellent study aid as each page of text has a page of commentary to go with it. This gives the student helpful insights and explanations to things which perhaps might have otherwise been blurred over.
All in all, a multi purposed text!
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 27 April 2003
Format: Paperback
"The Bacchae" was written by Euripides when he was living in Macedonia in virtual exile during the last years of his life. The tragedy was performed in Athens after his death. These factors are important in appreciate this particular Greek tragedy because such plays were performed at a festival that honored the Dionysus, and in "The Bacchae" he is the god who extracts a horrible vengeance. The tragedy clearly demonstrates the god's power, but it is a terrible power, which suggests less than flattering things about the deity himself.
Pentheus was the son of Echion and Agave, the daughter of Cadmus, the founder of the Royal House of Thebes. After Cadmus stepped down the throne, Pentheus took his place as king of Thebes. When the cult of Dionysus came to Thebes, Pentheus resisted the worship of the god in his kingdom. However, his mother and sisters were devotees of the god and went with women of the city to join in the Dionsysian revels on Mount Cithaeron. Pentheus had Dionysus captured, but the god drove the king insane, who then shackled a bull instead of the god. When Pentheus climbed a tree to witness in secret the reverly of the Bacchic women, he was discovered and torn to pieces by his mother and sisters, who, in their Bacchic frenzy, believed him to be a wild beast. The horrific action is described in gory detail by a messenger, which is followed by the arrival of the frenzied and bloody Agave, the head of her son fixed atop her thytsus.
Unlike those stories of classical mythology which are at least mentioned in the writings of Homer, the story of Pentheus originates with Euripides. The other references in classical writing, the "Idylls" written by the Syracusean poet Theocritus and the "Metamorphoses" of the Latin poet Ovid, both post-date"The Bacchae" by centuries.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 15 reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
The most verbally extravagant of all Greek dramas. 29 Aug 2001
By darragh o'donoghue - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If, like me, you had Greek Tragedy down as an austere thing, full of parched plains, unswerving Fate and dour verse, then 'The Bacchae' might come as a pleasant surprise. It has these things of course, but the first quality that shocks is the vibrant, fervid excess of the language. The story concerns Dionysus, the God of wine, the Life Force, the Chaos of the Irrational etc., who inspires a possessed devotion in his acolytes, as they express themselves in high-flown, ecstatic rhapsodies. Not every one takes this proto-hippie's divinity seriously, in particular the family of his mortal mother, led by the impetuous teenage king Pentheus, who sees all this Bacchanalia in the woods and mountains in loose robes as so much lechery. Dionysus exacts such terrible revenge on these unbelievers that 'Bacchae' makes Shakespeare's 'Titus Andronicus' look like a Julie Andrews vehicle.
If Sophocles' 'Oedipus the King' is the first detective story, than 'Bacchae' might be the first police procedural - a central sequence sees Pentheus arrest Dionysus and interrogate him, a scene as tightly written and suspenseful as any thriller. But detection and policing, embodying the forces of reason and the Law, have no power against the Irrational or Unknowable, and Pentheus is soon made mad, his order and sense of self in tatters. The terrible grip of irony familiar from Greek Tragedy gives the play a violent momentum, but the most extraordinary scenes take place offstage, related in vivid and tumultuous monolgues by messengers - the whirlwind revenge of Dionysus' female followers on the forces of surveilling civilisation, and the cruel enactment of the God's revenge. This idea of hearing about improbable catastrophes but not being able to see them adds ot the supernatural terror that is the play's fevered life-blood.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Down to Earth Cosmicness 4 July 2005
By Pliplup - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
After having my eyes opened by Willaims' translation, I decided to revisit Rudall's work. While Williams is poetic and prone to flights of fancy, Rudall is more down to earth, which is appropriate for a god like Dionysus.

Yes he is a god of frenzy, but he is also a god of dying. I think this is why dance is sacred to him. Dance feels gravity's pull, leaps against it, succumbs to it, and leaps yet again. Life that is tied to the earth tries to transcend it, and struggles until it falls exhausted to the ground, only to rise and struggle again. It ain't all about exaultation, but is also about falling down.

Williams' translation sometimes flies away like a flock of pretty birds. Rudall keeps pulling us back to earth, back to the mysteries, and helps us plumb the depths of this play's truths. He doesn't let a bunch of pretties get in the way. He makes sure we see Everything.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A note for a five-star book, Bacchae edited by E. R. Dodds 5 Dec 2007
By bukhtan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I doubt anyone will go so far as to shell out $65.00 and find out the hard way, but this spectacular book:

1986 2nd ed.
English Book lix, 253 p. ; 19 cm.
Oxford : Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press.
ISBN: 0198721250 (pbk.) 9780198721253 (pbk.)

contains in fact the Greek text, with apparatus, accompanied by this great scholar's introduction and line by line commentary. I have never seen a better commentary on a Greek tragedy, and in fact the work may be of some value to Greekless readers, but it is NOT the translation referred to by the other reviewers at this site.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Foolish Pentheus does not welcome Dionysius to Thebes 1 May 2003
By Lawrance M. Bernabo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Bacchae" was written by Euripides when he was living in Macedonia in virtual exile during the last years of his life. The tragedy was performed in Athens after his death. These factors are important in appreciate this particular Greek tragedy because such plays were performed at a festival that honored the Dionysus, and in "The Bacchae" he is the god who extracts a horrible vengeance. The tragedy clearly demonstrates the god's power, but it is a terrible power, which suggests less than flattering things about the deity himself.
Pentheus was the son of Echion and Agave, the daughter of Cadmus, the founder of the Royal House of Thebes. After Cadmus stepped down the throne, Pentheus took his place as king of Thebes. When the cult of Dionysus came to Thebes, Pentheus resisted the worship of the god in his kingdom. However, his mother and sisters were devotees of the god and went with women of the city to join in the Dionsysian revels on Mount Cithaeron. Pentheus had Dionysus captured, but the god drove the king insane, who then shackled a bull instead of the god. When Pentheus climbed a tree to witness in secret the reverly of the Bacchic women, he was discovered and torn to pieces by his mother and sisters, who, in their Bacchic frenzy, believed him to be a wild beast. The horrific action is described in gory detail by a messenger, which is followed by the arrival of the frenzied and bloody Agave, the head of her son fixed atop her thytsus.
Unlike those stories of classical mythology which are at least mentioned in the writings of Homer, the story of Pentheus originates with Euripides. The other references in classical writing, the "Idylls" written by the Syracusean poet Theocritus and the "Metamorphoses" of the Latin poet Ovid, both post-date"The Bacchae" by centuries. On those grounds, the tragedy of Euripides would appear to be entirely his construct, which would certainly give it an inherent uniqueness over his interpretations of the stories of "Medea," "Electra," and "The Trojan Women."
I see "The Bacchae" as being Euripides' severest indictment of religion and not as the recantation of his earlier rationalism in his old age. The dramatic conflicts of the play stem from religious issues, and without understanding the opposition on Appollonian grounds of Pentheus to the new cult readers miss the ultimate significance of the tragedy. This is not an indictment of Appollonian rationalism, but rather a dramatic argument that, essentially, it is irrational to ignore the irrational. As the fate of Pentheus amply points out, it is not only stupid to do so, it is fatal.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Very enjoyable 30 Aug 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great drama. I'm not a huge "classics" fan and yet I enjoyed this. If you're into Greek mythology and like flowery language and prose (and lots of melodrama) you will enjoy this. HINT: don't read these plays line-by-line like a poem - I find that it's more difficult to follow them that way. Read this like you would a novel.
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