Connectionbetween Theatre and Wine
Dionysuswas the god of wine as well as fertility, later taken as a benefactorof the arts. He introduced wine and promoted the art of growinggrapes. He has a double nature. On the one hand, Dionysus broughtdivine ecstasy and joy. On the other hand, the same character was anagent of rage and thoughtless actions. Dionysus could drive a man madif he chose to. No normal shackles could hold him or his disciples.The son of Semele and Zeus was the only god born to mortal parents.In addition to wine and fertility, Dionysus was known for festivityand was depicted as either pretty effeminate youth with long hair oran older god full of beards. Through and through, the god flauntsmyriad connections between wine and theatre. Below, this essayexplores the connection between wine and theatre by exploring TheBacchae.
Dionysus,the major theme of TheBacchae,exhibits myriad connections between wine and theatre through theplethora of powers and by taking various forms. In the conception ofthe god by Euripides, Dionysus exhibits numerous forms that conformto the duality logic in that they are shown to be both one thing andits alternate at the same time. Therefore, the subject is shown asbeing both inside and outside of the action of the theatre. Hisphysical looks present him as both fearful and beautiful. By birth,he holds both divine and human statuses. His origins associate himwith an Asia Minor cult (Segal, 213). The names of the cult offerinsight into his associations with human beings: the bacchants referto him as the Bromios, “the deafening one,” as well as Lysios,“the letting go god.” The gifts of the god allow humans to forgettheir troubles by taking wine, to forget their individualitiesthrough theater, and to forget their eccentricity through cultreverence. For human beings, Dionysus’ ability to permit them tolet go, when exercised in reasonableness, opens them to the communaland theatrical side of life. The connection between wine and theatreis seen here clearly. The god encourages humans to indulge in wineand then introduces them to a theatrical world where they loosenup(Segal, 346).
Thetheatrical drama and letting go associated with Dionysus, likeeverything else related to the god, also has its dark side. There isno particular inherent boundary to the powers of thundering Dionysus.Festivity, which is a mix of theatrical actions and wine, canturn todangerous and destructiveexcess, overpowering life itself instead ofsimply offering an essential transient release. The ultimatesignificance of self-control is exemplified by none other than thecamouflaged Dionysus. Although Euripides colorfully shows the fullextent of the ecstatic powers of Dionysus on his disciples, theStranger is himself calm, patient, and self-possessed. He alonedepicts wisdom and self-control, and these characteristicsdifferentiate him from the mortals around him(Segal347).Although he has the ability to sting men with madness, he alsopresents a picture of sanity, signifying that he is not tragedy’sagent, but maybe that humans themselves are to account for theirbloodstained discord.
Inconclusion, TheBacchae depictsa highly lucid connection between theatrical drama and wine. Beingthe god of wine and a benefactor of the arts, he plays this rolequite well. In addition to that, his characteristics, which areclearly a blend of mortal and supernatural aspects, elicit theconnection between theatre and wine even better. The connectionbetween theatre and wine also become clearer as the god promptshumans to let go and loosen up. The letting go allows humans toexperience the theatrical side of life.
Segal,Charles. DionysiacPoetics and Euripides’ Bacchae.PrincetonUniversity Press, 1997. Print.