The norms of Greek theater required that distant, violent actions happen offstage. In The Bacchae this tradition helps add force and shock to the drama instead of diminishing it. A carefully written account told by a compelling voice is ultimately more powerful than an enactment of something as visceral as the dismemberment of a human body. For no theatrical production could stage Pentheus's dramatic dismemberment at the hands of maenads completely convincingly. Such horror could only take place in the imaginations of the audience themselves.