Dionysus and Divine Violence: A Reading of 'The Bacchae'

Olga Taxidou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article reads Euripides' play as a template for an aesthetics of cruelty for the stage. It reads its fascination with violence and the limits of representation in conjunction with Walter Benjamin's essay 'A Critique of Violence' (1919) and makes the case that the figure of Dionysus as embodied negativity that transpires within the philosophies and performance theories of modernity from Nietzsche to Brecht results from this play and its reception. Furthermore, it proposes the notion that this play also presents us with a type of anti-Oedipal, performative philosophy, one where the opposition between poetry and philosophy breaks down.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Literature and Trauma Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Bacchae, Dionysus, Cruelty, Violence

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