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The Bacchae: Stasimon, Lines 370-433

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Stasimon, Lines 370-433

In this stasimon (a stasimon is a choral ode), the Chorus offers a commentary on the preceding scene. It sings to the gods in heaven, asking if they heard the blasphemy uttered by Pentheus. They sing, as Teiresias did moments before, of the blessings brought by the god Dionysus—laughter and freedom from care, thanks to wine. They continue, singing that man’s defiance of the gods brings only disaster; wisdom is in acceptance. Man should keep within the limits appointed by the gods.
 
In the next section of the ode, the Chorus sings in praise of other lands, such as Cyprus, Paphos, and Pieria, where people are allowed to worship the gods as they please. The Chorus longs to go to such places rather than remain in Thebes.
 
The ode ends with another section in praise of Dionysus and the blessings he brings to humans. The worship of Dionysus is associated with the wisdom of common folk, in contrast to “proud, uncommon men” who scoff at the god.
 
Analysis
This is another warning, a foreshadowing, about what may happen to Pentheus, who is obviously one of the “proud” men who defy the god. It sets up a dichotomy between the intellectuals in a society and the common people. The simple people are wise enough to follow the god; the so-called wise people are the ones who resist. Dionysus is here presented as a god who loves peace; the festivals held in his honor nourish the life of rich and poor alike.
 
 




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