Written by Dorothea (LISMlvr) for The Vault
The Vault poses the question, what is a maenad? For those of us who are not mythologists, some clarification might be helpful as it relates to the character Maryann in True Blood.
In Greek mythology, maenads were said to be nymphs who nursed the infant god, Dionysus. Dionysus is the god of fertility, associated with vine and wine. He is identified with the bull and Minotaur of Greek mythology. These nymphs became the first maenads, driven by Dionysus to madness. During their drunken orgies they would revel, dancing wildly, and engage in unbridled sexual behavior … sounds a little like Spring Break, doesn’t it? During this revelling, the participant’s souls are in a state of limbo, and in his limbo, they join with Dionysus. But the similarities to Spring Break end there, I hope, because they would also wander the forests, hunting animals and human, alike, tearing their prey to shreds. Wet T-shirts seem kind of tame, now don’t they?
Maenads could also be women who tried to resist worshiping Dionysus. He drove them to madness and forced them to behave in wanton behavior. The hunting and devouring of raw flesh, specifically the flesh of a bull, allowed the consumers to take on the characteristics of Dionysus. Greek mythology also mentions Pan’s (the god of shepherds and flocks) penchant for maenads.
Their costume was minimal, wreaths on their heads, carrying a staff adorned with vines, and wearing animal skins. Maenads are long lived but not immortal.
So, I’m sure fellow True Blood fans, you can see the similarities between these mythical women and Maryann.
• Drunken orgies
• Woman who cares for, or nurses others (Tara and Eggs)
• Maryann’s inclination to dress Greek goddessy
• The appearance of the “bull man” coinciding with Maryann’s arrival
• Mural of Pan and his human lover next to Maryann’s pool
• Maryann’s thoughts, as heard by Sookie, which were Greek to me, though I’m pretty sure I heard “Baccus” who is the Roman god of wine
Not only has True Blood become an obsession, forcing me to watch episodes again and again (while researching Maryann’s link to the maenad, I HAD TO rewatch the Bill and Sookie scenes several more times), but now True Blood is forcing me to think. Greek mythology is not part of my housewifey day. I think I need some wine …followed by a drunken orgy. I think I’ll skip the shredded raw bull meat, though.