Bacchae' and 'The Bible': Women in Literature

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Bacchae and Bible Women in literature have often been the target of aggression and oppression, illustrating the lack of importance of women and the suppression of the gender by their male oppressors. In myth, and in religious practices as well, women have been used as examples of beings bent upon distraction and destruction of the proper and God-abiding male gender. Examples of this gender bias are evident both in myth, such as in Bacchae which is an ancient Greek myth which has been translated into English by Paul Woodruff, and in religion, such as is illustrated in the book of Genesis of the Christian Bible. Bacchae is the story of King Pentheus and his mother Agave who were punished by the God Dionysus for failing to worship him because they refuse to believe that their relative can be the son of a God. It is made evident that it is hubris which makes Agave unable to see that her nephew is the son of Zeus. Dionysus states: "Well, now, Cadmus has given his rights as king / to Pentheus, the son of his daughter Agave, / and Pentheus wages war on the gods through me, / shoves me away from libations, pays no attention" (Euripides 43-46). Her refusal to accept Dionysus as divine condemns not only herself but her son as well. The god punishes both son and mother with utmost hostility, such as when Pentheus dies. "Mistaking him for a wild beast, [young women] tear him limb from limb, playing catch with pieces of him. His mother Agave, in the lead, carries off his mangled

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