Wednesday, April 04, 2007

If you don't accept the little craziness, you'll get the big craziness, which is much worse.

With the little craziness, you look bad, which is part of why you don't want to accept it. With the big craziness, you look bad, feel bad, and don't come back. Die, or stay very crazy.

Mary Renault says that that is part of what there is to learn from the ancient Greek play "The Bacchae."

In the play, the god Dionysus comes into Greece from the south, which is the direction he came from culturally. He says to the king of the city the play happens in, "I'm here. Get crazy."

The king belittles Dionysus, makes fun of him, and stand on his dignity and his real power as king as opposed to Dionysus unreal power as a god new to the area and not serious.

At the end of the play, the king is blithering and it seems like that's his state.

Meanwhile, some women of the city, the Maenads, take time off from their usual round to run in the hills hooting and hollering with and in honor of Dionysus. The implication is that after Dionysus season, he moves on and they go back to the usual every day things they do.

Mary Renault talks about this play in her book, "The Mask of Apollo." The book is told in the first person by an actor who is also a believable good human being. He also has a good life, a happy life. The doom element comes frm the fact that like other actors of that time he sometimes gets involved in diplomacy, taking messages, because he travels.

So he watches politicians. They desperately don't want to look bad, which is dangerous.