- Fridge Horror: Something of an in-story example, when Agave realises that what she holds is not the head of a lion but rather that of her son, Pentheus.
- Foe Yay: Pentheus seems a bit too obsessed with Dionysus at times. Other times he outright hits on him.
- Someone in charge of a 2013 Greek production of the play seems to agree, because the subtext was heavy enough that Dionysus and Pentheus had an Almost Kiss that wasn't even the most blatant part. That honor surely goes to the scene where Dionysus, preparing Pentheus to go among the maenads, slowly dresses him in a wedding gown, complete with a stefana (entwined garlands worn by a newlywed bride and groom) - joined to the one that Dionysus is wearing.
- Reality Subtext: The play was written and performed during a time when Athens was suffering the worst effects of the Peloponnesian War and Athens itself was suffering under both a devastating plague that was decimating the population and a Spartan Naval Blockade that was starving it. Many Athenians felt that the gods must be very pissed off and decided that the sophists, who had questioned the existence of the gods, were to blame (this bad feeling towards sophists and philosophy in general indirectly resulted in the execution of Socrates for, among other things, impiety). It's hard not to see evidence of this sentiment in characters constantly chastising Pentheus for being "clever, but not wise" and the punishment he receives for his blasphemy.
- What an Idiot: Pentheus decides to deny the existence of a god, then accompany a suspicious man into the mountains to watch a group of Ax-Crazy women perform secret rites.