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Pentheus Character Analysis

Pentheus is aman who scoffs at the gods and the people who worship them. He believes that the people who came from the dragon’s teeth that Cadmus sowed should be too brave to worship Bacchus with raucous, effeminate festivals. He captures Acoetes and interrogates him, then runs up the mountain to intercept the Bacchic festival. His mother Agave and her companions tear his body to pieces, fulfilling Teiresias’s prophecy of Pentheus’s fate.

Pentheus Quotes in Metamorphoses

The Metamorphoses quotes below are all either spoken by Pentheus or refer to Pentheus . 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

Pentheus Character Timeline in Metamorphoses

The timeline below shows where the character Pentheus appears in Metamorphoses. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 3: Pentheus and Bacchus (1)
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
After the story of Narcissus spreads through Greece, everyone worships Teiresias as a great prophet. Pentheus, however, scoffs at the gods and Teiresias’s foresight. Teiresias predicts that when Pentheus refuses to... (full context)
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
When Bacchus arrives, crowds gather to worship him. Pentheus accuses everyone of going crazy. He asks how the same people who fought bravely in... (full context)
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
Cadmus tries to reason with Pentheus, but Pentheus ignores him. Pentheus’s enslaved men return. They didn’t find Bacchus, but they captured... (full context)
Book 3: Acoetes and the Lydian Sailors
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Pentheus’s prisoner introduces himself as Acoetes. His parents were humble people who left him no material... (full context)
Book 3: Pentheus and Bacchus (2)
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Pentheus interrupts Acoetes, saying he’s heard enough nonsense. He tells his guards to take Acoetes to... (full context)
Book 4: Ino and Athamas
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...Athamas and their children. Queen Juno is furious that her rival Semele’s son Bacchus caused Pentheus’s death, turned Minyas’s three daughters into bats, and is causing everyone to go mad with... (full context)