transgress'd. . And in this mood, he composed a poem to Apollo and rendered a few of Aesops fables in verse. Upon entering her chamber, however, he finds that she has hanged herself. No matter now how much Euripides might seek to console us with his retraction, he was unsuccessful. Near the end of his life, Euripides himself propounded as emphatically as possible the question about the value and meaning of this tendency in a myth to his contemporaries. Achilles was born to King Peleus and the sea-nymph Thetis. With what astonishment must the Apollonian Greek have gazed at him! Vituss dancing we recognize the Bacchic chorus of the Greeks once again, and its precursors in Asia Minor, right back to Babylon and the orgiastic Sacaea a riotous Babylonian festival.
For here there is nothing like the stimulating relationship between a prophetic dream and a later real event. What we habitually assess so frequently in Euripides, in comparison with Sophoclean tragedy, as a poetical deficiency and a backward step is for the most part the product of his emphatic critical process, his daring intelligence. This primordial basis of tragedy sends its vision pulsing out in several discharges following one after the other, a vision which is entirely a dream image and therefore epic in nature, but, on the other hand, as an objectification of a Dionysian state, it presents. So he sat there in the theatre, full of uneasy thoughts, and, as a spectator, he came to realize that he did not understand his great predecessors.
The solution to the riddle posed immediately above is this: Euripides felt himself as a poet higher than the masses, but not higher than two of his spectators. Anyone who steps up to these Olympians with another religion in his heart and seeks from them ethical loftiness, even sanctity or spiritual longing for the non-physical, for loving gazes filled with pity, must soon enough despondently turn his back on them in disappointment. Euripides is the actor with the beating heart, with his hair standing on end. The chorus is the ideal spectator, insofar as it is the only onlooker, the person who sees the visionary world of the scene. Jocasta asks Oedipus why he is so upset and he tells her what Teiresias prophesied. Dionysian music especially awoke in that world fear and terror.