Who was Pentheus? Why was he doomed by Dionysus? What fate did he suffer?

Expert Answers
drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pentheus was the king of Thebes. When he took the throne, he banned the worship of Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry. In doing this, Pentheus incited the anger of the Bacchae, the women who worshipped Dionysus (Bacchus).

Dionysus and Pentheus were cousins. Dionysus lured Pentheus into the forest to spy on the women who were engaging in forbidden worship. The women, including Pentheus's own mother, thought that Pentheus was a wild animal and tore him into pieces.

meganmjh | Student

Pentheus was the King of Thebes. He was doomed by Dionysus due to his reluctance to listen, his disbelief in the god Dionysus (who was his cousin), his excessive pride and arrogance. Pentheus was an unconcerning character who failed to understand other people's views. The god Dionysus, whom was infuriated due to Pentheus, planned the maenads (which were women who were wild, insane devotees to Dionysus) to hunt him out. The most significant element concerning the murder of Pentheus is that his OWN mother- who brought about his existence in the first place, was the main maenad ripping him to shreds. What you have to understand though, is that Dionysus put all the maenads under a trance, thereby they were not sane during the time that they attacked Pentheus and they believed- due to their insanity that he was a mountain lion (their meal). By the time they were sane, it was too late- Pentheus was dead.