chapter  1
11 Pages

The 'Bacchae'

Two Last Plays The Bacchae and the Oedipus Coloneus may seem an oddly assorted pair of plays, but they have an historical nexus which an historical study of Greek Tragedy may recognize with advantage: for both were produced posthumously. We may go further, for both plays are markedly different in form and in manner from their immediate predecessors. As if the thunder from Heaven that so impressively warns Oedipus of his approaching end had been audible in Macedonia as well as in Sophocles' native Colonus, Sophocles and Euripides alike seem to gather their forces for one last effort, each to embody, as in a testament, his [mal vision of the tragedy ofman. Each develops a theme which is recognizably a continuation of earlier work, and the result is surprising; for Euripides writes a drama which, for all its wild movement and romantic colouring, is much more regular in form than most ofhis earlier tragedies, while Sophocles, the master ofstructure, approaches an almost Euripidean looseness of form.