and held by
"Regarded by many as Euripides' masterpiece, Bakkhai examines both the horror and the beauty of the religious ecstasy that Dionysos brings to Thebes. His offer of closeness to nature and freedom from the constraints of civilization, especially for women, excites bitter resistance as well as fanatical acceptance." "Disguised as a young holy man and accompanied by his band of Asian worshipers, the god Dionysos arrives in Greece at Thebes, proclaims his godhood and his new religion, and drives the Theban women mad. When the Theban king, Pentheus, tries to imprison him, Dionysos afflicts Pentheus himself with madness and leads him, dressed as a bacchant, to the mountains, where his own mother, Agaue, and her companions tear him to pieces in an insane Bacchic frenzy."