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After the messenger has relayed this news, Pentheus' mother, Agave, arrives carrying the head of her son. In her possessed state she believed it was the head of a mountain lion, and she killed him with her bare hands and pulled his head off. She proudly displays her son's head to her father, believing it to be a hunting trophy. She is confused when Cadmus does not delight in her trophy, his face contorting in horror. By that time, however, Dionysus' possession is beginning to wear off, and as Cadmus reels from the horror of his grandson's death, Agave slowly realizes what she has done.
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