An analysis of the Bacchae on the basis of Aristotle's Poelies reveals
that Euripides' treatment of Pentheus' fate has all it takes to arouse pity
and fear. The king's μεταβασιζ εξ ευτυχιαζ ειζ δυστυχιαν begins with
a peripety (v. 810) and ends upon a pathos-scene (vv. 1114-36). The
emotional effect of the latter is enhanced by the surrounding songs (vv.
977-90; 1153-59) and the εναργεια of the messenger's description.
Ultimately, however, the impact of Pentheus' downfall will depend on
our evaluation of his ηθοζ and διανοια. Whoever is blind to the circumstances
of the young man's αμαρτια as well as to the negative evolution
in Dionysus' behaviour, will not be moved. But even (s)he will fee] pity
and fear in the exode, as we witness through a brilliant αναγνωρισιζ
(vv . 1264-96) how Pentheus' death brings undeserved misfortune on