Pentheus and Bacchus

Metamorphosis Pentheus and Bacchus Question and Answer Mark 5

Metamorphosis Pentheus and Bacchus

                                       QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS- 5 MARKS

  1. How did Bacchus punish the crew? (5)

Ans. Initially, Bacchus pleaded before the crew to release him, but when he found that the crew is making fun of him and ultimately wants to harm him, he first fixed the ship with his vines.  The crew tried to make the ship more further but they could not. Then one by one Bacchus turned all the twenty sailors into various kinds of sea creatures and plunged them into the sea. Even  Bacchus presented before them various kinds of horrible shapes like panthers, tigers, and lynxes.

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  1. Briefly discuss Pentheus’ speech to the Theban against worshipping Bacchus? (5)

Ans. Pentheus had rejected the worship of Bacchus earlier but when Bacchus came to Thebes, the Theban started worshipping him. Pentheus to stop them from the worship called them mad. He tried to stop them from worshipping Bacchus by telling them that Bacchus means being equal to a person who has no senses.

Then he tries to remind them of their history that they were the children of the serpent. And they were born to fight. Instead of having cymbals, pipes they should carry swords and spears. Pentheus tells them that they are warlike people and should not lose their courage over intoxication of wine. They should not be led astray by obscene rituals. He calls upon his elders and tells them that it were they who went overseas to expand their territories but now they have come to ruin because of their worship of Bacchus.

In these two instances Pentheus tries to instigate the people to feel proud of the original culture and reject the new god. This symbolizes a general human attribute of not accepting change easily. This attribute of Pentheus led to his downfall.

Perhaps, Ovid tried to tell us that if we do not accept change then we too could be destroyed. Pentheus tried to excite the manly pride of the Thebans by saying that once they had defeated powerful enemies but now they are defeated by a mere boy. He tried to reduce the stature of Bacchus by describing him in an effeminate light. Pentheus calls Bacchus a fraud who was turned away by Acrisius. He wants the Thebans to exile Bacchus from their city.

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Metamorphosis Pentheus and Bacchus

  1. What was the story behind the transformation of Tiresias into a blind man? (5)

Ans. Once Juno and Jupiter had a debate about who becomes more benefited in love. While Juno said that it was Jupiter who profited more from a relationship, it was Jupiter who said that they would gain less. To settle the dispute, Tiresias was consulted. It was said that Tiresias was turned into a woman for seven years for disturbing a pair of snakes that were mating.Then, Tiresias opined that it were the women who benefitted more in a love relationship. Juno was much angry because Tiresias supported her husband. To punish him Juno cursed Tiresias to be blind forever.

  1. How did Pentheus die?


How was Pentheus killed?


Ans. Pentheus, however, scorned his god Bacchus. Tiresias told him to honor the god Bacchus or he would die, but Pentheus didn’t listen, instead of taunting those who participate in the festival of Bacchus. He maligned Bacchus and asked the revelers to prove Bacchus’ divinity. They returned with a priest, Acoetes, who told of how he came to be one of Bacchus’ priests. After his parents’ death, he became a sailor, and one day on his fellow-sailors brought home a beautiful youth, half-drunk, with the intent to do him wrong. Acoetes saw that the youth was a god, Bacchus, and prevented the wrong doing. Later, Bacchus convinced the sailors to take him to Naxos; the sailors agreed, only to change course once at sea. Bacchus realized this, stops the ship and turned all the sailors except for Acoetes into dolphins. Thence, Acoetes became a follower of Bacchus. Pentheus learned nothing from this tale, and he ordered his followers to torture and kill Acoetes. Before they could do so, however, his chains fell off of their own accord and he escaped. Furious, Pentheus approached the place where the Bacchic rites were taking place. His mother and sister were so caught up in the ritual, that they mistook him for a boar and decided to make him their sacrifice. They ripped his arms then his head from his body as he cried out to them.

5. Briefly describe how Acoetes was saved from the hands of Pentheus’ soldiers. 
     Ans. Acoetus, in response to Pentheus’ inquiries, narrates how he came to know of Bacchus and turned into one of the cults. However, he barely finished his narrative when Pentheus interjects. He mocks at Acoetes’ story, thinking to be nothing more than a ploy to steal time so that his heart softens and the immediacy of the punishment he metes out it mollified. He further instructs the guards to hold him, and take him to the torture chamber, there to put his body on the rack, and finally cast it down to the darkness of the river Styx, the legendary river of hell.
This is where a miracle occurs that exhibits Bacchus’ special favor for the Lydian Acoetes. He is taken to the prison and thrown into it. However, his chains come out of their own as the gates of the prison are opened on their own accord. The instruments that were being prepared for his execution become powerless.



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