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Humanities LibreTexts 3.551–61

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    essemus miseri sine crimine, sorsque querenda,
    non celanda foret, lacrimaeque pudore carerent;
    at nunc a puero Thebae capientur inermi,
    quem neque bella iuvant nec tela nec usus equorum,
    sed madidus murra crinis mollesque coronae                                 555
    purpuraque et pictis intextum vestibus aurum,
    quem quidem ego actutum (modo vos absistite) cogam
    adsumptumque patrem commentaque sacra fateri.
    an satis Acrisio est animi, contemnere vanum
    numen et Argolicas venienti claudere portas:                                 560
    Penthea terrebit cum totis advena Thebis?

    Study Questions

    • Identify and explain the tense and mood of essemus, querenda + celanda foret, and carerent (551–52)
    • What kind of ablative is pudore (552)?
    • What is the subject of capientur (553)?
    • Identify the seven (!) subjects (three negatives, four positives) that go with iuvant (554–56).
    • Explain the grammar and discuss the meaning and design of pictis intextum vestibus aurum (556).
    • Explain how the infinitive fateri (558) fits into the sentence. What kind of construction does it introduce?
    • What kind of genitive is animi (559)? On what word does it depend?
    • Parse venienti. How does it fit into the sentence?
    • Parse Penthea (561).

    Stylistic Appreciation

    • What formal devices does Pentheus use to reinforce his mockery of Bacchus?
    • Looking back over the speech, analyze its overall design with particular attention to Pentheus’ (changing) interaction with his audience.

    Discussion Points

    • In his portrayal of Bacchus, Pentheus uses several stereotypes to characterize him as strange and foreign — a technique called ‘othering’ (to make someone look different from oneself). What are these stereotypes? Do they still have currency in contemporary culture? If so, where?
    • Bacchus demands infraction and suspension of the norms and expectations that bind (a) society. Tabulate these as Pentheus’ speech captures them.
    sors, -tis, f lot, fortune, destiny
    queror, -ri, -stus to regret, complain, protest
    celo, -are, -avi, -atum to conceal from view, hide
    pudor, -oris, m. feeling of shame; dishonour
    inermis, -is, -e unarmed, lacking military power
    murra, -ae, f. myrrh
    crinis, -is, m. hair
    purpura, -ae, f shellfish yielding purple dye; purple dye; purple-dyed cloth
    pingo, -ere, pinxi, pictum to adorn with colour, paint, embroider
    intexo, -ere, -ui, -tum to weave into, embroider on
    actutum (adverb) forthwith, immediately
    assumo, -ere, -psi, -ptum to insert, add; choose for oneself, adopt here: to lay claim to (wrongly)
    comminiscor, -inisci, -entus to think up, contrive, invent, fabricate
    advena, ae, m./f. new arrival, foreigner, stranger 3.551–61 is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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