I’ve just written an article on Thebes, I’ve always thougth about the end of Thebes as a savage and dramatic end. As such I thought this image compliments it perfectly.
Pentheus is torn apart by the followers of Dionysus (inlcuding his mother) in a frenzy. His fate is very sacrifical in tone and even alludes to the sparagmos, a differing type of sacrifice in which the victim is torn apart. The image is horribly brilliant, note now the maenad on his right looks into his eyes, it’s almost tender. It’s suggested that this is Aguee, his mother. The image doesn’t stop there because for her the horror has yet to come.
(480 BC Attic red figure kylix)