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Bacchus Character Analysis

Bacchus is the son of Jupiter and Semele who was born from Jupiter’s thigh. He becomes a new god worshipped throughout Greece with wild dances and drunken festivals in which people wear animal skins and ivy wreaths. He is a polarizing deity throughout Greece, many people refusing to worship him and incurring punishment.

Bacchus Quotes in Metamorphoses

The Metamorphoses quotes below are all either spoken by Bacchus or refer to Bacchus . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Metamorphosis Theme Icon
Book 3: Pentheus and Bacchus (1) Quotes

Blood of the dragon’s teeth, you’re possessed! Are you so spellbound
by curling pipes of animal horn and clashing cymbals
to fall for this juggler’s tricks? You, who were never dismayed
by the threatening swords of the foe on the march or his blaring trumpets,
are now being worsted by screaming women, bibulous frenzy,
lewd and lecherous hordes and the futile banging of drums!
Elders, how can I respect you?

Related Characters: Pentheus (speaker), Bacchus
Page Number: 532
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Metamorphoses LitChart as a printable PDF.
Metamorphoses PDF

Bacchus Character Timeline in Metamorphoses

The timeline below shows where the character Bacchus appears in Metamorphoses. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 3: Pentheus and Bacchus (1)
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...scoffs at the gods and Teiresias’s foresight. Teiresias predicts that when Pentheus refuses to worship Bacchus—the son of Jupiter and Semele and the new god—his body will be torn to pieces... (full context)
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When Bacchus arrives, crowds gather to worship him. Pentheus accuses everyone of going crazy. He asks how... (full context)
Gods and Humans Theme Icon reason with Pentheus, but Pentheus ignores him. Pentheus’s enslaved men return. They didn’t find Bacchus, but they captured one of Bacchus’s henchmen instead. Pentheus wants to kill the prisoner as... (full context)
Book 3: Acoetes and the Lydian Sailors
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Bacchus (the captured boy) wakes up from his drowsy state and asks what is happening and... (full context)
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Bacchus, realizing that the sailors are deceiving him, pretends to weep and asks why grown men... (full context)
Book 3: Pentheus and Bacchus (2)
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...release him. Acoetes then goes to the mountain where the sacrificial rites in honor of Bacchus are taking place. When Pentheus hears the cries of worship from the mountains, he goes... (full context)
Book 4: The Daughters of Minyas (1)
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Only a few women refuse to participate in the revelry over Bacchus. For one, Alcithoë, Minyas’s daughter, doesn’t believe that Bacchus is Jupiter’s son. The priest of... (full context)
Book 4: Leucothoë and Clytië
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...a heliotrope flower. When Minyas’s daughter finishes the story, her sisters remark that real gods—unlike Bacchus—can do amazing things. (full context)
Book 4: The Daughters of Minyas (2)
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...Minyas’s third daughter finishes her story, the three sisters keep weaving, ignoring the festival for Bacchus. Suddenly, they are assaulted by the sound of loud drums and the smell of perfume.... (full context)
Book 4: Ino and Athamas
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Everyone in Thebes now acknowledges Bacchus as a new god. Semele’s sister Ino—who helped raise her nephew Bacchus—is fiercely proud of... (full context)
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...hates that Athamas is allowed to live happily on land when his wife’s nephew is Bacchus. She asks one of the three Furies—the three goddesses of vengeance who have hair of... (full context)
Book 4: Perseus (1)
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After Cadmus and Harmonia become serpents, India and Greece join Bacchus’s cult. However, Bacchus is forbidden to enter Argos by its ruler Acrisius, who denies that... (full context)
Book 6: Arachne
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...disguising himself to trick them. She depicts Neptune’s deceptions and affairs, and shows Apollo and Bacchus disguising themselves to overpower women. Not even the goddess of envy could have criticized Arachne’s... (full context)
Book 6: Tereus, Procne and Philomela
Time, Fate, and Poetry  Theme Icon speechless with grief and rage. At this time, the women are gathering to worship Bacchus. Procne dresses in her ceremonial clothes and makes her way to Philomela’s hut. She releases... (full context)
Book 7: The Rejuvenation of Aeson
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...with her potion. Instantly, his white hairs and wrinkles disappear, and he becomes young again. Bacchus, seeing what Medea has done, calls on her to restore the youth of some of... (full context)
Book 8: The Minotaur and Ariadne
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...Theseus follows it back, kidnaps Ariadne, and escapes to Naxos where he then abandons her. Bacchus takes pity on Ariadne and takes her crown into the sky where it becomes a... (full context)
Book 8: Meleager and the Calydonian Boar
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...Calydon, a city near Athens, the king throws a huge festival celebrating Ceres, Minerva, and Bacchus for blessing the region. Diana is forgotten, and she flies into a rage. To get... (full context)
Book 11: The Punishment of the Maenads
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Bacchus is angry that the women killed Orpheus and decides to punish them. He twists tree... (full context)
Book 11: Midas
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Still angry at the Thracian women, Bacchus leaves Thrace. He brings a band of dancers with him, but Silenus—Bacchus’s old foster father—isn’t... (full context)
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Happy to be reunited with Silenus, Bacchus tells King Midas that he will grant him anything he desires. Without thinking, King Midas... (full context)
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Midas realizes that his love of gold will destroy him. He prays to Bacchus, confessing his stupidity and asking for Bacchus to reverse his gift. Bacchus lifts the gift... (full context)
Book 13: The Daughters of Anius
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...his son—whom Apollo had blessed with prophetic powers—is far away on an island. His daughters—whom Bacchus gave the power to transform anything they touched into corn and wine—were kidnapped by King... (full context)