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Ariadne


A mesmerizing debut novel about Ariadne, Princess of Crete for fans of Madeline ...
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Do you feel any sympathy for Dionysus' actions? Does he change over the course of the novel, or does Ariadne simply see him for who he truly is?

Created: 05/13/21

Replies: 13

Posted May. 13, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3442

Do you feel any sympathy for Dionysus' actions? Does he change over the course of the novel, or does Ariadne simply see him for who he truly is?

After witnessing Dionysus' terrible actions against the Argive women, Ariadne reflects: "Dionysus had once seemed to me the best of them all, but I saw him now for what he was, no different from the mightiest of the gods. Or the basest of men." What does she mean? Do you feel any sympathy for Dionysus' actions? Does he change over the course of the novel, or does Ariadne simply see him for who he truly is?


Posted May. 13, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 338

RE: Do you feel any sympathy for ...

I think all of the Gods are petty, revengeful, petulant, and self serving. Dionysus was no different when faced with things that displeased him


Posted May. 13, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
danielh

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 9

RE: Do you feel any sympathy for ...

Not much sympathy here. It is difficult to say whether he changed, or whether he was merely exhibiting the deity's capricious willfulness. He seems to have changed. However, we do not get to know him adequately to determine that.


Posted May. 14, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sweeney

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 203

RE: Do you feel any sympathy for ...

I feel no sympathy for him at all. As with all relationships, things change over time and the true characters of both parties come to light.


Posted May. 14, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rachelh

Join Date: 10/19/20

Posts: 58

RE: Do you feel any sympathy for ...

I actually did sympathize with Dionysus a bit. I thought it was interesting when we learned that he had loved a mortal who had died, it made me think about how lonely immortality must be. He was still awful to Ariadne and it doesn't excuse any of his actions, but does make him a bit more of a complex and interesting character, I think.


Posted May. 14, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carolt

Join Date: 03/25/17

Posts: 190

RE: Do you feel any sympathy for ...

Some, perhaps, especially when he talks of loving mortals, but at heart he still thought only of his own entitlement.


Posted May. 14, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 466

RE: Do you feel any sympathy for ...

I had always thought Dionysus was JUST the god of wine. After doing a little bit of research, I learned that originally he was the god of fertility of nature. This explained the a paradise that Naxos truly was-in bloom, fragrant, peaceful. Dionysus later became known as the god of wine, who loosens inhibitions. Could his behavior have changed due to in part to his transition from nature lover to wine lover? Alcohol can/does cause extreme changes in people. The focus of his life shifted dramatically once he began holding the late night rituals (drunken orgies????). The little bit of power he seemed to gain made him hungry for more. Were his desires fed by the alcohol? I don't feel sympathy for him. Dionysus made a choice. His choice brought consequences into his life that he probably would have liked to avoid. However, if he was an alcoholic, I feel empathy for him.


Posted May. 15, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 381

RE: Do you feel any sympathy for ...

I do feel sympathy. And I believe that over the course of his relationship with Ariadne, he changed in some ways for the better—and in some ways for the worse. Just like any human being—and I believe that is one of the big ideas behind this novel, and likely behind the purpose of the ancient myths themselves, for the people who kept these stories alive. They are fantasies of human creation, therefore the gods are really just humans but with special powers...which is a way of saying that we too have these powers, to use wisely or to use selfishly.

Dionysius has the power to nurture life and love, and also the power to destroy for the sake of his ego. He is capable of loving in the knowledge he will one day experience grief—- that is very human, and deserving of sympathy. (When we lose someone we love, it certainly feels like an eternity of grief.) He is capable of getting caught up in revenge or seeking adulation—and living to bitterly regret that—-also very human. We are left with this question about Dionysius as a challenge, sort of, to think about what we believe people are capable of...


Posted May. 17, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 215

RE: Do you feel any sympathy for ...

Dionysus had something of a split personality so you can feel for him in his love of Ariadne and their children. However, in his godly aspect it is hard to feel anything except to see his ego and that is his downfall.


Posted May. 17, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Elizabeth Marie

Join Date: 05/26/18

Posts: 84

RE: Do you feel any sympathy for ...

I do feel some sympathy for Dionysus. He is both good and evil, both generous and selfish. In addition to being the son of Zeus, he is the son of Semele who was murdered by Hera before he was born. He loved two mortals who died and he was never the favorite child. His efforts to prove himself had terrible consequences for others, but he also experienced the pain of loss.


Posted May. 19, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ScribblingScribe

Join Date: 02/29/16

Posts: 217

RE: Do you feel any sympathy for ...

I think Dionysus started out believing he was different and above the pettiness of the other gods. He was wrong. Power corrupts. Greed and fame become obsessions. He was always vengeful (he turned the crew of the sailboat into dolphins as retribution for their hubris), but he balanced it with kindness. In the beginning. But he became addicted to fame and worship and aggressively sought it. Once he started down that path of comparing himself to the other gods and considering himself as an equal, he lost whatever humanity he had gained from his upbringing. He turned into a god, which was inevitable. His actions elicited no sympathy in the end.


Posted May. 29, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
celiaarnaud

Join Date: 04/18/12

Posts: 73

RE: Do you feel any sympathy for ...

Dionysus did seem to change. I did feel sympathy for him. His mother died before he was even born, and he seemed to have a true relationship with Ampelos (which we only know about after the fact). At first he seemed to think that he just wanted to show people how to enjoy life. he claimed to be uninterested in worshippers. But then when confronted people who didn’t want to join his cult, he unleashed punishment on them. Maybe he was just fooling himself and Ariadne before.


Posted May. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beverlyj

Join Date: 12/22/11

Posts: 154

RE: Do you feel any sympathy for ...

I would say that I did not feel sympathy for Dionysus or that is not necessarily the correct word for how I felt. I do believe that he learned to care for Ariadne but still how he acted with other people did not really change.


Posted May. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BuffaloGirl

Join Date: 01/13/18

Posts: 229

RE: Do you feel any sympathy for ...

Thank you to "acstrine" for providing further background information on Dionysus. The information regarding his status as god of fertility of nature definitely adds a layer to his character.

I didn't feel sympathy for Dionysus. His hubris overcame his reason and he committed an unforgiveable act, for which he seemed to show little or no remorse. We have to look at Dionysus' actions in the context of the myths and time period in which they were written. I believe the gods and goddesses were used to explain the unexplainable in the natural world. Mortals believed the deities controlled the world and that they had to submit to to the gods in order to survive. Throughout the book, I felt that Dionysus and the other gods and goddesses were actually mortals who saw opportunity, took control, and promoted themselves as celestial beings. (Of course, that doesn't explain changing men into dolphins, Minotaurs, beings transformed into stars in the firmament, or mortals turned to stone!)


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