The Menace Of Dionysus : Sex Roles And Reversals

712 WordsDec 9, 20163 Pages
And it is this very same feminine power the women have in the natural world that propels males in “The Bacchae” to fear them and feel the need to control them as a way of controlling the natural world; this ultimately leads to the destruction of the society. In his article, The Menace of Dionysus: Sex Roles and Reversals in Euripides’ Bacchae, Charles Segal argues that Euripides is criticizing the rigid Athenian gender hierarchy, mainly focusing on how Pentheus’ and society’s fear of femininity leads to the suppression of females that ultimately causes the disintegration and destruction of society in the play. Women in “The Bacchae” were feared by males “because they [were] seen as closer to the basic biological processes of nature” (Segal 186). These aspects of nature included menstruation, lactation, and birth of a child. These were all processes of nature that involved women and could not be controlled by males. The males then find themselves at a place where they lose all control, and that place is nature. In his book, Slipp includes Homer Smith’s claim that “People tried to control their destiny by anthropomorphizing the forces of nature” (21). In other words, males in the city of Thebes would personify these “forces of nature” to represent women, so they felt in controlling women, they were controlling their destiny and taking back power of their lives from nature. Slipp claims this control of women was done by “[enhancing] the protective and minimizing the feared
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