Dionysus, the God; son of Zeus and of the Theban princess Semelê.
Cadmus, formerly King of Thebes, father of Semelê.
Pentheus, King of Thebes, grandson of Cadmus.
Agâvê, daughter of Cadmus, mother of Pentheus.
Teiresias, an aged Theban prophet.
A Soldier of Pentheus’ Guard.
A Chorus of Inspired Damsels, following Dionysus from the East.
“The play was first produced after the death of Euripides by his son,who bore the same name, together with the ‘Iphigenia in Aulis’ and the‘Alcmaeon,’ probably in the year 405 B.C.”
The background represents the front of the Castle of Pentheus, Kingof Thebes. At one side is visible the sacred Tomb of Semele, alittle enclosure overgrown with wild vines, with a cleft in therocky floor of it from which there issues at times steam or smoke.The God Dionysus is discovered alone.
Behold, God’s Son is come unto this land
Of Thebes, even I, Dionysus, whom the brand
Of heaven’s hot splendour lit to life, when she
Who bore me, Cadmus’ daughter Semelê,
Died here. So, changed in shape from God to man,
I walk again by Dirce’s streams and scan
Ismenus’ shore. There by the castle side
I see her place, the Tomb of the Lightning’s Bride,
The wreck of smouldering chambers, and the great
Faint wreaths of fire undying — as the hate
Dies not, that Hera held for Semelê.