The following quotations are from:

Richard Seaford, Dionysos

“Mystic initiation merges the individual soul into the group. Dionysiac frenzy is ‘shared’ (Plato Symposium 218b). The objective aspect of this subjective solidarity is manifest in the descriptions, later in the play, of the maenads on the mountainside. Springing all to their feet out of sleep, they are ‘a marvel of good order’ (692-4). When they call with one voice on their god, the whole mountain and the animals and everything else join in their movement (725-7). Many are the museums that contain vase-paintings of maenads (sometimes with their mythical male counterparts the satyrs) moving with the paradoxical cohesion of an ecstatic group. What is remarkable about the maenads in Bacchae is the cohesion of the group with nature (Chapter 2) and with itself. They run ‘raised like birds’ (748), i.e. with the miraculous cohesion of a flock of birds leaving the ground. Although the vine embodies the mysterious power of nature to dissolve boundaries, it is made clear in Bacchae (686) that these maenads are not drunk. Although wine is his gift to humankind, Dionysos can, even without it, dissolve the boundaries of the soul.” 32-33

“But this reversal of the structure of the polis is also the most conspicuous possible expression of its communality. The polis contains a tension between adherence to the polis and adherence to the household. In the symbolic expression of this tension in myth and ritual, adherence to the household is best symbolized by those who in reality adhere almost exclusively to it, the women. Hence the mythical resistance of the women to Dionysos, their unwillingness to leave the parental or marital household for his collective cult. Dionysos overcomes the resistance (in the daughters of Minyas, the daughters of Proitos, the women of Thebes) by inspiring frenzy in them. Hence also the ruthlessness with which Dionysos imposes frenzied self-destruction (kin-killing) on the ruling family that vainly resists his communal cult, a theme which in the communal Dionysiac genre of tragedy extends to myths that do not contain Dionysos (chapter 7).” 34