Category: Sparagmos

‘Something Witchy’ on Mount Cithaeron: Finding The Bacchae in the Manson Murders

By Emily Chow-Kambitsch   In an undergraduate Greek Mythology course I first encountered Euripides’ Bacchae. Within my native Southern Californian frame of reference, when I pictured Dionysus in my mind’s eye, I saw Charles Manson. Euripides’ ‘Lydian stranger’—Dionysus in mortal disguise—I read against the slight, long-haired Manson, who, like Dionysus, enjoyed among other things breaking out of prison, proclaiming himself… Read more →

‘Acting on the instructions of this Clytemnestra’: a female killer in the ancient Athenian courts

There were no lawyers in ancient Athens; people prosecuting crimes or defending themselves in court would do so by the means of speeches, which were often heavy on rhetoric and light on what a modern audience would consider to be evidence. These speeches, called ‘forensic’ speeches, were about persuading the jury that the speaker’s version of events was the correct… Read more →

She Had No Choice: How Rona Munro’s ‘Iron’ Navigates Stereotypes of Female Violence

‘There are many groups in society who are made uneasy by women who… do not embrace a femininity characterized by victimhood and passivity’ – Gwen Adshead.   Traditionally, behind every action of a character comes a motivation that leads them there. A traditional playwright’s job is to build and justify the actions of their characters from a series of contextual… Read more →

Subversion, Violence, Gender Disruption: Feminist Engagements with Euripides’ ‘The Bacchae’

The next show in By Jove’s Season of Violent Women, Here She Comes, draws its inspiration from one of Euripides’ final tragedies, The Bacchae. In that play, Dionysus inspires madness in all the women of Thebes, sending them up to nearby Mount Cithaeron to worship him in forested isolation; this comes as a punishment against the city’s mortal king Pentheus… Read more →

Why violent women?

The violence of women fascinates and unsettles us. We are used to seeing, in art and in life, the violence of men: police procedurals teach us that the serial killer must be a white male in his 30s; mass shootings and terrorist attacks are invariably perpetrated by men; men are generally six or seven times more likely to kill than… Read more →

Sparagmos: A Journal of Women’s Violence in Classics and the Arts

Launched in October 2016, By Jove Theatre Company is currently in the midst of ‘A Season of Violent Women’: three stories of violent women from myth and history. The season opened with Margaret of Anjou, a ‘new’ play by Shakespeare charting the rise and fall of the she-wolf of France during the War of the Roses and the violent acts which… Read more →