The seclusion in which the women of Athens lived naturally made the elder dramatists shrink from exhibiting them on the stage as under the influence of violent passion. Euripides departed from this rule, and was lashed for it by his merciless satirist; but even he, who depicted a Medea and a Phaedra, did not venture to bring a raving woman before his audience. There was just one case in which the Greeks would not be justly scandalised by such a presentment— where madness was supposed to be supernatural in its origin, and consecrated by religion, and an instance of this has been happily left us in the Bacchó. My readers have been made acquainted with that beautiful sketch of an epidemic of religious insanity, and I have now to describe an incidental portrait of a “wise woman,” when the spirit of prophecy is upon her, and she speaks as one raving, yet possessed by the God.
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