In Euripides’ Bacchae, first produced in the last five years of the fifth century, that is, after the tragedian’s death, there is a remarkable sequence of scenes which constitutes the turning point of the play. In the first of these scenes (787-861), making the last section of the great central epeisodion, the god Dionysus, masquerading as a mortal, tries to persuade Pentheus that in order to spy on the maenads on Mt. Cithaeron, he must put on woman’s dress, or rather, allow himself to be dressed in female garb by Dionysus himself (827). The elements of the ϑῆλνς στολή are detailed in advance at 830 ff. — long flowing locks, skirts down to the feet, a μίτρα for his head, and as the special equipment of the bacchant, a thyrsus and a dappled fawnskin. Pentheus strongly rejects the stranger’s suggestion, though fascinated by it, and when he goes indoors at the end of the scene he has not yet committed himself to the plan. However, it is clear to the audience from Dionysus’ speech to the chorus after Pentheus has left the stage that Pentheus, in his last attempt to exercise control and freedom of action, will not be able to withstand the power of the god. In order to fulfil the god’s plan of vengeance Pentheus must be driven out of his right mind, since only then will he accept the female disguise. When the two main characters return after the third stasimon all this has happened. Dionysus calls Pentheus out of the palace to display himself as a bacchant, and Pentheus looks to Dionysus for approval of his costume. As adjustments are made to it each element of the disguise is spotlighted — the curls and the μίτρα (928-9), the girdle and the long dress (936-7) and the thyrsus (941-2). In keeping with his costume Pentheus must learn to play the part of the bacchant, and Dionysus instructs him in the correct wielding of the thyrsus (943-4) before the two set out for Mt. Cithaeron.