The Bacchae is one of Euripides' last works, written just before his death in 406 B.C. The play considers the thin line between collective freedom and mob violence--between individual self-discovery and self-annihilation. The young god Dionysus, son of Zeus and a mortal woman, Semele, arrives for the first time in Greece to find that his mother's own city, Thebes, ruled by young king Pentheus, is denying his divinity and refusing to worship him. The god casts his spell on the city's women, who abandon their homes for the mountains to celebrate Dionysus there free of male supervision. Enraged at this challenge to civilized constraints, Pentheus tries to suppress the new religion, but his effort to capture the Bacchants and put a stop to their rites goes horribly awry.