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Page last updated on: April 6th, 2021

Dionysus' Punishment on Blasphemy


Author: Euripides

Agave was the daughter of Cadmus, king of Thebes, and a sister of Semele, the mother of Dionysus.

Agave was jealous of her sister Semele because Zeus, the king of the gods, fell in love with her and their union produced Dionysus, the Greek god of wine.

So she spread the false news that Semele had actually slept with a mortal and then falsely blamed Zeus, and that Zeus, dishonoured by the blasphemy, finally punished Semele by striking her down with his thunderbolt.

When he grew up, Dionysus decided to inflict a severe punishment on Agave, who shamelessly dared to question his divine origin. So he decided to return to the city of Thebes, where he was born and where his mother's tomb lay. During this time Pentheus, the son of Agave, ruled.

Once there, Dionysus ordered all the women of the city to go to the mountains and become intoxicated in order to praise him as the god of wine.

Pentheus, however, did not agree with the cult. To put a stop to it, he secretly followed the worshipers to spy on them.

When his drunken mother Agave saw him, she thought he was a wild beast. In her frenzy, she tore him to pieces and devoured him.




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