The Reasons Dionysus Punishes Cadmus

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In
  Euripides’
  play
  The
  Bacchae,
  Cadmus
  is
  brutally
  punished
  for
  Pentheus’
  denial
  of
  Dionysus’
 divinity.
 Yet,
 in
 this
 ancient
 Greek
 tragedy,
 Cadmus
 himself
 never
 rejects
 Dionysus
 as
 a
  god.
  In
  fact,
  Cadmus
  goes
  out
  to
  worship
  Dionysus
  as
  a
  deity
  by
  dancing,
  despite
  his
  old
  age.
  So
  why
  is
  Cadmus
  punished
  to
  such
  an
  extreme
  extent
  by
  Dionysus?
  Even
  though
  Cadmus
  tells
  Pentheus
 the
 error
 he
 is
 making
 by
 not
 worshipping
 the
 gods,
 Cadmus
 is
 still
 not
 spared
 from
  punishment
 beyond
 the
 loss
 of
 his
 daughters,
 grandson,
 and
 home.
 Despite
 his
 own
 worship
 of
  Dionysus,
 the
 God
 punishes
 Cadmus
 because
 he
 does
 not
 honor
 Dionysus
 for
 the
 right
 reasons,
  and
  because
  of
  his
  association
  with
  non-­‐believers.
  The
  chorus
  defines
  the
  blessed
  worshipers
  of
  Dionysus
 as
 “those
 who
 know
 the
 mysteries
 of
 god”
 (158.72).
 This
 is
 the
 relationship
 that
 one
  must
 have
 to
 truly
 honor
 the
 deity.
 Although
 Cadmus
 speaks
 and
 acts
 like
 a
 believer,
 his
 words
  indicate
 that
 he
 worships
 Dionysus
 out
 of
 fear
 and
 selfishness
 rather
 than
 out
 of
 respect
 for
 this
  mysterious
  divinity.
  Euripides
  shows
  that
  punishment
  will
  be
  dealt
  not
  only
  to
  those
  who
  act
  wrongly,
 but
 also
 to
 those
 who
 improperly
 honor
 Dionysus.
 
  Soon
 after
 the
 start
 of
 the
 play,
 Cadmus
 and
 Teiresias
 prepare
 to
 go
 worship
 Dionysus.
  Cadmus
 says,
 “Here
 I
 am,
 dressed
 in
 the
 costume
 of
 god,
 prepared
 to
 go.
 Insofar
 as
 we
 are
 able,
  Teiresias,
  we
  must
  Do
  honor
  to
  this
  god…Dionysus.”(161.179-­‐84).
  From
  the
  beginning,
  we
  can
  see
  Cadmus’s
  eagerness
  to
  go
  worship
  the
  new
  god
  Dionysus,
  wanting
  to
  worship
  this
  god
  to
  the
  best
  of
  his
  abilities.
  The
  two
  old
  men
  go
  to
  the
  extent
  of
  walking
  to
  the
  place
  of
  worship
  instead
  of
  riding
  chariots,
  for
  Teiresias
  knows
  “it
  shows
  more
  honor
  to
  the
  god”(162.192).
  Although
  old
  and
  frail,
  Cadmus
  accepts
  the
  harder
  path
  to
  take
  for
  worshiping
  Dionysus,
  demonstrating
 his
 faith
 to
 the
 deity.
 His
 decision
 to
 not
 merely
 worship
 the
 god
 but
 go
 out
 of
 his
  way
  to
  do
  so
  indicates
  that
  he
  truly
  believes
  that
  Dionysus
  is
  a
  god.
  Just
  before
  the
  arrival
  of
  Pentheus
  in
  this
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