Romanticism, like the Rousseauist Swinging Sixties, misunderstands the Dionysian as the pleasure principle, when it is in fact the gross continuum of pleasure-pain. Worshiping nature and seeking political and sexual freedom, Romanticism ends in imaginative entrammelment of every kind. Perfect freedom is intolerable and therefore impossible.
Euripides seems to have felt that the dignified perfection of Sophocles could be challenged only by novelty and irresponsibility. The religious conditions of the Dionysian festival kept him within certain bounds... But within the imposed limits Euripides was as profane as he dared to be, making melodrama of the divine realities which his predecessors accepted religiously, using the stage merely as a convenience for popularizing his own eccentric values.laura riding