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Greco-Roman Culture: Lysistrata

Uploaded by Admin on Jan 22, 1999

Aristophanes was a "craft" comedy poet in the fourth century B.C. during the time of the Peloponnesian War. Aristophanes' usual style was to be too satirical, and suggesting the outlandish. He shows little mercy when mocking Socrates and his "new-fangled ideas" which were most likely designed to destroy the cohesiveness of society and lead to anarchy, in his play The Clouds. The most absurd and humorous of Aristophanes' comedies are those in which the main characters, the heroes of the story, are women. Smart women. One of the most famous of Aristophanes' comedies depicting powerfully effectual women is the Lysistrata, named after the female lead character of the play. It portrays Athenian Lysistrata and the women of Athens teaming up with the women of Sparta to force their husbands to end the Peloponnesian War. To make the men agree to a peace treaty, the women seized the Acropolis, where Athens' financial reserves are kept, and prevented the men from squandering them further on the war. They then beat back an attack on their position by the old men who have remained in Athens while the younger men are out on campaign. When their husbands return from battle, the women refuse to have sex with them. This sex strike, which is portrayed in a series of (badly) exaggerated and blatant sexual innuendoes, finally convinces the men of Athens and Sparta to agree to a peace treaty. The Lysistrata shows women acting bravely and even aggressively against men who seem resolved on ruining the city-state by prolonging a pointless war and excessively expending reserves stored in the Acropolis. This in turn added to the destruction of their family life by staying away from home for long stretches while on military campaign. The men would come home when they could, sexually relieve themselves, and then leave again to continue a senseless war. The women challenge the masculine role model to preserve the traditional way of life of the community. When the women become challenged themselves, they take on the masculine characteristics and attitudes and defeat the men physically, mentally but most of all strategically. Proving that neither side benefits from it, just that one side loses more than the other side. It's easy to see why fourth century B.C. Athenian women would get tired of their men leaving. Most Athenian women married in their teens and never had to be on their own, and probably wouldn't...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   01/22/1999

Category:   Ancient Greece

Length:   5 pages (1,189 words)

Views:   1610

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